Odds are even on plan to expand casinos to North Jersey

A gambler tries her luck at the slot machines at the Trump Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City

A gambler tries her luck at the slot machines at the Trump Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City

New Jersey voters are split on whether to allow casino gambling in the northern part of the state.

While 48 percent of voters in a Monmouth University poll say they would vote in November to approve the expansion by amending the state constitution, another 48 percent say they’d reject it.

The public isn’t convinced that allowing two casinos in the northern part of the state will be an economic boon, said poll director Patrick Murray.

“Just 12 percent say that it will help the state’s economy a great deal if they expand casinos to North Jersey,” Murray said. “Another 42 percent say it will help somewhat, but we have more than four in ten who say that it will help not much or not at all.”

Just under 60 percent of New Jersey residents polled said casino expansion would hurt Atlantic City.

What’s more, Murray said, opinions about the benefits of casino gambling may be changing.

The latest poll found “38 percent say that Atlantic City is now worse off than it would have been if they never introduced casino gambling there,” he said. “And 31 percent say it’s better off, but that’s a reversal of just three years ago when 46 percent said Atlantic City had been better off because of casino gambling.”

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