Saving AC: New Jersey Voters Reject Proposal for New Casinos

November 10th 2016 | Ivan Potocki

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New Jersey voters gave some hope to Atlantic City as they voted down the proposal which would allow for new casinos to built in the Garden State, closer to New York City

Tuesday was a big day for the United States, as Americans visited election boots to vote for their next president. Donald Trump’s surprising victory is still what everyone is discussing, but Tuesday saw some other developments as well. One of them happened in the Garden State, where voters decided against allowing new casinos to be built in New Jersey.

Struggling Atlantic City Economy

Once a home to 12 different casinos, Atlantic City is now host to just seven of them. Past years haven’t been particularly kind on the East Coast gambling center. The recent shutdown of the legendary Taj Mahal was just another nail in the coffin for the struggling city.

The Tuesday election could have delivered the finishing blow, as New Jersey voters were asked if they would allow for new casinos to be built closer to New York City. However, an overwhelming majority of voters voted “no,” affirming their stance casinos should remain limited to Atlantic City.

Pros & Cons

The outcome of the vote was uncertain, as there were valid arguments made by proponents and opponents of the proposition alike. As is usually the case, not everything can be painted in black and white overtones, and the issue of New Jersey casinos certainly belongs to that category.

On the one hand, expanding casinos to other regions in the state could help attract new players. Atlantic City has lost a lot of its appeal, as the competition in neighboring states has increased dramatically. If New Jersey casinos were more “along the way,” it would help bring in some fresh blood, earning millions in taxes for the state.

From the AC’s point of view, however, this could prove detrimental. The city is already experiencing the worst period in the history of gambling and new casinos in the state would only water down the players’ pool further. Additionally, opponents of the ballot emphasized that it left too many questions open-ended.

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Introduction of new casinos would certainly have its advantages for the state, but it could also mean the final blow for already struggling Atlantic City

Atlantic City Facing State Takeover?

Once a flourishing resort, Atlantic City is currently $500 million in debt. City officials failed to provide the state government with a viable financial plan for the future and now Atlantic City is facing a state takeover. This means that the state governor Chris Christie and his administration will be in charge of all major decision.

The news was, naturally, not welcomed by the New Jersey residents. Many of them feel that the state government will overpower them and they will have no one to turn to.

The takeover process is not instantaneous. It can take up to five years for the New Jersey government to fully take the control. Atlantic City can use this time to find a solution to its financial problems and the ballot on new casinos failing works in their favor.

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As things stand right now, AC is facing a state takeover unless they are able to come up with and execute a sound financial plan

However, proponents of the casino expansion will not throw in the towel that easy as they’ve already announced future plans to try and push their ideas through. While Atlantic City has some breathing room for the time being, city officials will need to act quickly and efficiently if they want to prevent the state takeover.

Ivan Potocki on EmailIvan Potocki on Twitter
Ivan Potocki
Ivan Potocki
Assistant Editor and Columnist at Beat The Fish
Ivan first started playing poker in 2006 and played professionally from 2010-2013. He holds a BA in English language and literature. Since joining the Beat The Fish team in 2016 Ivan has made an immediate impact, leading the news section and contributing numerous feature articles. You can reach Ivan directly at ivanpotocki@gmail.com

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