New Jersey is in the midst of a plan to revitalize Atlantic City, but it hasn’t stopped state officials from discussing projects placing casinos elsewhere.
The latest talks revolve around a 95-story casino hotel in Jersey City that would also include residential housing, a massive sports stadium, and the construction of the world’s largest Ferris wheel. The project is being proposed by Paul Fireman, a venture capitalist whose wealth exceeds $1 billion, nj.com reported.
The discussions for such a development are in the early stages and for it to become a reality, New Jersey voters would have to approve. Casinos located outside of Atlantic City are currently not allowed by the state constitution. There has been talk of perhaps adding a referendum to the 2015 ballot to permit New Jersey residents to have their say.
It might be hard to vote against the proposal considering that some 25,000 jobs would be created and the project comes with a price tag of $5 billion. Those same voters have seen 1,600 jobs lost when the Atlantic Club closed in January and are expecting another 2,100 jobs to be axed in New Jersey when the Showboat Casino closes on Aug. 31.
Speaking of closing casinos, Governor Chris Christie has vowed to get the Atlantic City gaming industry back on its feet after seven years of decreasing revenue. The current plan is to not allow casinos anywhere else in the state until at least 2016 until the revitalization efforts have had a chance to play out.
But indications are that Christie is beginning to change his tune. Some state lawmakers believe that casinos beyond the borders of the boardwalk could be beneficial to Atlantic City if the deals are structured properly. That could mean a new casino located in Atlantic City or possibly making sure that revenue from the Jersey City project finds its way there.
Atlantic City was a robust tourist and gambling destination for decades until casinos in neighboring states began springing up. After losing gaming revenue to those states, New Jersey officials have been looking for ways to recoup funds. One way has been by legalizing online gambling, although that plan has not met initial expectations since launching in November.
Locating a casino in the northern end of the state would undoubtedly keep some of those gambling dollars from being spent in other states. The odds are good that we will see a casino outside of Atlantic City one day, but amending the state’s current statutes and providing incentives to Atlantic City will be part of any such plan.