New Jersey voters were united on Tuesday in rejecting the proposal to build two more casinos in the state, in cities other than the declining Atlantic City. The troubled city will keep its forty year monopoly on gaming in the state.
The referendum saw voters choose not to allow new casinos to be developed by more than 1.5m votes. It is the largest margin of defeat for any referendum in the history of the state, 78% to 22%.
Bill Cortese, executive director of Trenton’s Bad Bet, a Newark-based group that campaigned against the referendum said: “We are glad to see the overwhelming support across New Jersey opposing casino expansion. We attribute our success to a broad coalition of community leaders, unions, small businesses and residents who are convinced that North Jersey casinos would be a detriment to the entire state.”
The men who funded pro-casino development group, Our Turn NJ, Reebok CEO Paul Fireman and developer Jeff Gural, commented: "We are disappointed but not surprised, by tonight’s result...the people of New Jersey were unhappy with the lack of details on this issue.”
Atlantic City’s struggles were a key factor in preventing the expansion, as casino officials from the city had said that the expansion could have resulted in 20,000 to 30,000 more people out of work as business left struggling casinos. Resorts Hotel Casino owner, Morris Bailey, said: “Today's vote is an important step for Atlantic City's return to becoming a world class resort. On behalf of the 30,000 employees and their families that rely on the Atlantic City casino industry, we are gratified by the overwhelming defeat of this initiative".