Don’t bet on temporary casino at Meadowlands

    New Jersey lawmakers have postponed action on plans for a temporary casino at the Meadowlands Sports Complex.

    The proposal would have permitted a temporary casino in the week leading up to the 2014 Super Bowl that will be played at MetLife Stadium, a part of the complex.

    Voters would need to approve a constitutional amendment to allow an expansion of casino gambling outside Atlantic City.

    Assembly Gaming Committee chairman Reuben Ramos says that wouldn’t allow enough time to get a temporary casino up and running.

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    “When you have an amendment, a voter referendum, taking place there and to try to get which casino is going to run the operation and how that’s going to run properly, it’s just too short a time frame,” Ramos said Thursday.

    Ramos, D-Hoboken, says it might be better to amend the New Jersey Constitution to permanently allow gambling at the Meadowlands and other locations in the state.

    Gov. Chris Christie and Senate President Steve Sweeney want to give Atlantic City three more years to rebound before permitting casinos elsewhere.

    Assemblywoman Connie Wagner agrees.

    While she supports having a casino at the Meadowlands — eventually — she says revenue at Atlantic City casinos is down, and more time is needed to see if that market improves.

    “I have to make sure that Atlantic City grows and thrives because it employs many, many people,” said Wagner, D-Bergen. “Let’s get them healthy and strong and then we can come back up here in (North Jersey). I think that’s being realistic.”

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