Play USA NJ Online Casino Forum Meadowlands Racetrack Owner Still Pushing for a Casino

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    Barbara Nathan

    When casino gambling was legalized in the State of New Jersey 40 years ago, Atlantic City was the only location where it was permitted. That law wasn’t challenged until last November’s election, when a referendum on the ballot asked New Jersey voters to indicate whether or not they approved of two additional casinos being built in North New Jersey. One of the proposed sites was Meadowlands Racetrack. The other was the Jersey City waterfront.

    Supporters of the referendum argued that having the two new casinos would be a good thing because their presence would encourage New Jersey residents who were already going to the out of state casinos rather than Atlantic City, to play in the state. The new casinos would also not only create new jobs, but be a great source of additional tax revenue, some of which would be used to help Atlantic City. However, opponents presented convincing arguments that the introduction of casinos in the northern part of the state would cripple Atlantic City even more and result in additional casino closures. Another concern was the lingering uncertainties on such matters as the exact locations of the new casinos and how much they would be paying in taxes.

    The referendum was overwhelmingly defeated by an 80%-20% margin. However, Meadowlands owner Jeff Gural, who was one of the main proponents of the push to expand casino gambling to North New Jersey, is reportedly unwilling to take no for an answer. He is not only still hopeful that a casino is in the Meadowland’s not too distant future; he insists that it is necessary for the state’s harnessing racing industry’s survival.

    According to Gural, without the additional revenue from casino gambling, the Meadowlands can’t compete with racetracks in neighboring states like Yonkers Raceway in New York, Mohegan Sun Pocono in Wilkes-Barre, PA, and Harrah’s Racetrack in Chester, PA. All of the latter are now racinos, so they can afford the high purses which are attracting horse owners.

    Gural sees harness racing as a “dying business” and says that “the only thing that will save me at the Meadowlands is a casino.”

    He also dismisses the claims that casino expansion to other parts of the state will hurt Atlantic City because, in his view, Atlantic City is already “a slum” and a lost cause. Gural reportedly plans to wait until New York awards its three expected casino licenses for locations in the southern part of the state, and then try again with a new referendum. “Once that happens, voters of New Jersey would be idiots for not approving it,” Gural maintains.

    I feel badly that the Meadowlands is struggling due its not having a casino and that maybe just one casino at the Meadowlands, rather than two North New Jersey casinos, might be a viable option. Two North New Jersey casinos, on the other hand, I think would be a disaster. I also cannot condone the statement dismissing Atlantic City as a slum not worth saving.

    As players, we can all do our part by making the land-based casinos in Atlantic City, and our favorite New Jersey online casinos, when we cannot conveniently get to Atlantic City, as our playing destinations of choice. Another way you can make your voice heard is to share your opinion in this forum. How do you feel about the determination of the owner of the Meadowlands to keep trying for a casino on the property when the voting public clearly doesn’t want one?


    Joe Brooks

    While I agree with Gural’s sentiment that North Jersey would ultimately benefit from a casino, I don’t necessarily agree with the logic.

    You can’t just say AC is a lost cause. What is the state of NJ supposed to do, burn it to the ground? And AC is in the midst of a minor revival. Will it ever reach the heights it did in the mid-2000s? No probably not, but the city deserves credit for taking steps toward attracting a younger crowd. And the Borgata is certainly not a slum, it’s probably the nicest casino on the east coast.

    And what about NJ online gambling? The industry generated nearly $200 million last year, and all sites are housed, by law, at Atlantic City casinos. Giving up on AC means giving up on a thriving segment of the industry.

    I feel like Gural is raging over the Meadowlands performing poorly, and didn’t think some of his statements through.

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