Atlantic City’s troubles may doom plan to expand gaming to North Jersey

New Jersey Senate President Sweeney says a referendum on allowing gaming to expand to North Jersey may be in trouble. (Phil Gregory/WHYY)

New Jersey Senate President Sweeney says a referendum on allowing gaming to expand to North Jersey may be in trouble. (Phil Gregory/WHYY)

New Jersey voters will decide in November whether to approve expanding casino gaming to the northern part of the state.  The long dispute over how to deal with Atlantic City’s financial problems could influence the outcome of that ballot question.

Senate President Steve Sweeney believes all the attention on Atlantic City’s financial woes has hurt the chances of getting voters to approve two casinos in North Jersey.

“We were going to have a struggle to start with to get gaming passed, but with all this negativity surrounding it, it’s going to be a much steeper climb now to get it passed,” said Sweeney, D-Gloucester. “I really think it’s in trouble.”

Assemblywoman Valerie Huttle isn’t so sure.

“I don’t know if it really derailed it. It may have put it on hold right now because the focus is on Atlantic City,” said Huttle, D-Bergen. “However, I think that we have some time before November. The issue is keeping the revenue in the state and not outside of the state.”

If the referendum wins voter approval, some revenue from North Jersey casinos would go to help develop non-gaming projects in Atlantic City.

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