1. Gaming

New Jersey voters against casino expansion

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Atlantic City will retain its status as the only place where casino gambling is legal in New Jersey after state residents voted overwhelmingly against the casino expansion proposal. 파칭코

According to the initial results, nearly 78% of the votes in the Nov. 8 referendum were against the plan. The Associated Press predicted that the ballot issue was rejected by more than 1.5 million votes.

Casino expansion beyond Atlantic City has been discussed for years, but the issue has become more urgent since 2014, when four gambling houses at the once popular casino resort were closed for good.

Many believed that building casinos outside Atlantic City would help improve the state's struggling gambling industry. Peripheral states have expanded and upgraded the casino industry over the past few years, leaving New Jersey losing customers and losing much-needed gambling revenue for its neighbors.

A bill that approved an extended referendum on November 8 was signed into law earlier this year. Residents have been asked to vote for or against a proposal to set up two casino resorts in the northern part of the state.

Under the above-mentioned deal, operators of existing Atlantic City casinos would have been the first people to apply for a license to operate a North Jersey gambling house. If such operators were not interested in running the North Jersey casino, other developers could have bid for the license.

According to people familiar with the matter, certain provisions of the Bill were one of the main reasons why voting questions failed. Major gambling companies would probably have spent more money lobbying for expansion proposals if they knew they could apply for permission.

The casino expansion referendum was one of the most expensive in the state in terms of money invested in lobbying for and against the construction of a new casino. The $24 million was spent exclusively on marketing campaigns promoting the shortcomings that could be brought about by the proposed expansion. And, as the results show, those campaigning against the proposal managed to create a chord in response to voters.

Opponents have argued that the construction of the North Jersey casino over the past few months will take an irreparable toll on the state's gambling industry and that expansion will lead to more Atlantic City closures. Furthermore, they pointed out that there were certain important questions that the Nov. 8 vote did not provide an answer. One of those questions was the exact amount and location the new casino would have paid in tax revenue.

Atlantic City will retain its monopoly on state casino gambling for now, but expansion advocates said they could resume discussions on the matter in the early hours of Wednesday.

Shortly after the results were announced on Tuesday night, property developer Jeff Gural and Reebok CEO Paul Fireman said in a joint statement that they were disappointed with the change, but did not surprise them. Gural and Fireman each proposed building an existing Meadowlands racetrack and a luxury casino resort in Jersey City. 

Bill Cortese, executive director of Bad Beat in Trenton, one of the opposition groups to the proposed expansion, told the media he was pleased with the overwhelming support their cause had gained to prevent the establishment of a North Jersey casino. Mr Cortese attributed what he thought was a great success to a “wide coalition of community leaders, unions, small businesses and residents” who understood the risks such an expansion poses to the country.


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