Despite the recent struggles of Atlantic City, New Jersey could be closing in on the approval of brand new casinos in the northern portion of the state. This news comes after the filing of a report by The Deutsche Bank last week, which stated that the recent casino closures in the famous boardwalk destination, combined with a slumping state budget, make a Meadowlands casino a potentially profitable prospect. The report indicated that one or two casinos in the Garden State could generate well over $500 million in revenue, adding approximately $275 million into the state’s coffers.
A new casino outside of Atlantic City would require a constitutional referendum, which is on deck for a vote in November. Last year, Senate President Stephen Sweeney indicated that expanding gambling is a distinct possibility, stating that a referendum on the topic is a “very real possibility.” Likewise, Governor Chris Christie has said that he was open to discussing the idea moving forward.
The new location already has casino investors’ interests piqued. In April, James Murren, Chief Executive Officer of MGM Resorts International, expressed interest in building a casino in the Meadowlands, and venture capitalist Paul Fireman has also been associated with the legislation.
The Deutsche Bank report cites the presence of new casinos in nearby states as a major obstacle for Atlantic City moving forward. As a result, the report predicted more resorts to close in coming years, particularly the Taj Mahal and a second Boardwalk casino. The Meadowlands, however, could capitalize on its proximity to New York in order to attract more visitors in the face of increases in legalized gambling throughout the region.
Opposition to expanded gambling continues to point to the perilous economic collapse in Atlantic City over recent years. Though the Meadowlands would undoubtedly provide significant boosts to the economy initially, the prospect of New York City casinos in the future make it a potentially hazardous venture. For the time being, however, a northern New Jersey casino could be the best financial option.
If you always associated New Jersey gambling with America’s Favorite Playground, you wouldn’t be incorrect. Beginning with the approval of legalized gambling in 1976, the city has served as one of the country’s most profitable gambling destinations for years. In the late 1970s, Atlantic City’s boardwalk served as a nationwide attraction, with major boxing matches and the construction of major high-rise condominiums making the city one of the most popular tourist destinations in the United States.
Continued development in Las Vegas and the opening of casinos in Connecticut during the 1990s took away much of the luster of the famous boardwalk. In the early 2000s, the region’s tourism began a steep decline that was exacerbated by the decade’s financial recession. This year, four of the city’s casinos are set to close their doors, leaving New Jersey scrambling to reclaim vital tourism revenue.
For over 40 years, the city upon which the popular board game Monopoly was based has claimed a monopoly on the state’s gambling industry. If the newly released Deutsche Bank report is any indication, this period could be coming to a close. Whether new legislation is approved or not, it’s clear that the New Jersey gambling scene is on the cusp of a major renovation.