The resolution is expected to be put before voters in November’s vote. Currently, casino gambling is only allowed in Atlantic City. The proposed bill calls for the construction of two new casinos in North Jersey. However, the state constitution must be revised first.
The resolution has met strong opposition, which South Jersey lawmakers claim would do more damage to the already struggling Atlantic City if approved. For years, the once popular gambling hub has been losing customers to places in neighboring states. If a new casino is built in New Jersey, the city will also have to cope with intra-state competition.
Despite strong opposition, the proposed bill cleared the first legislative hurdle on Thursday. The New Jersey Senate Budget Committee approved the resolution by an overwhelming majority.
According to supporters of the plan, setting up two gambling houses in the north of the state will help New Jersey stay competitive in the ever-expanding gambling market, create numerous jobs for residents, and bring billions of dollars in casino revenue to North Jersey and Atlantic City, giving the latter an opportunity to renovate and boost the casino industry.
Two lawmakers, along with senators, voted against the casino bill on Thursday. Jeff Van Drew is one of them. Commenting on his decision not to support gambling expansion, he said he believed it would result in more Atlantic City casinos closing down in the future. In 2014, the gambling center closed four out of 12 casinos and thousands of people lost their jobs.
After months of heated debate between Senate Speaker Steve Sweeney and Speaker Vincent Prieto, the two lawmakers agreed on Monday on a compromise to be introduced before voters in November. The two officials previously submitted two separate, very similar bills for the expansion of the state gambling industry.
Even after removing the first hurdle, the proposal requires approval from the state Senate and Congress before being placed in front of New Jersey residents. The bill must be passed by three-fifths of all lawmakers before August. 슬롯머신
If finally approved by voters, the proposed bill would require gambling operators who manage existing casinos in Atlantic City to provide them with the opportunity to own more than 51% of each of the two new casinos.
But following last-minute changes to the bill introduced on Thursday, the operators must apply for casino licenses within 60 days. According to an earlier version of the proposed bill, gambling companies would have taken six months to apply for ownership.