Group Against North Jersey Casinos Ramps Up Opposition

[toc]The fight against a November referendum allowing casinos in North Jersey churns on.

Debra DiLorenzo, chairwoman of No North Jersey Casinos Coalition, has been an outspoken voice in the fight against the referendum. Earlier this week, DiLorenzo talked about the movement and its mission on WJLP’s “Jersey Matters.”

“We have a diverse group of stakeholders all like-minded that Atlantic City should be the only destination for casinos,” DiLorenzo told show host Larry Mendte, citing businesses, business associations, government officials, organized labor and citizens who support the NNJCC’s positions.

New casinos big hassle for voters

This November’s vote isn’t the first casino expansion referendum that’s been put to New Jersey voters. Other propositions dating as far back as 1974 have gone up for vote, and all have failed.

When asked why New Jersey voters shoot down casino expansion, DiLorenzo listed a variety of factors.

“I guess they just aren’t interested in the extra traffic and everything that comes with having a casino in an already very over-built North Jersey,” she said.

DiLorenzo then went on to say that the South Jersey economy would be “devastated” if two new casinos opened.

When Mendte pressed her on this point, DiLorenzo recounted statistics from a recent study that essentially resulted in doomsday predictions for Atlantic City if the referendum passes.

She went on to say that the economic impact would extend beyond AC and affect Atlantic County and beyond.

“We are looking at devastation, and that is why our coalition formed. We started beating the drum about what is really happening with this referendum,” she said. “The panacea the proponents are talking about is just folly.”

The referendum also comes just as AC casino revenue seems to have found equilibrium.

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Meadowlands commerce boss asks for support

While the anti-referendum machine is chugging along without any perceived hitches, support for expansion by voters and business leaders seems to lack the same vigor.

Several polls over the past few months have revealed that voter support for the expansion is, at best, a dead heat and, at worse, decisively opposed to it.

There were signs of life, however, earlier this month when Meadowlands Regional Chamber President and CEO Jim Kirkos released an open letter asking for support from voters in the southern part of the state.

Past polls have shown that South Jersey voters are, by and large, opposed to the referendum.

One of Kirkos’ arguments was that South Jersey voters who say “no” in November are putting their state allegiance on the line. Those who vote against it, he said, are essentially voting for the prosperity of casinos in New York and Pennsylvania who fear that expansion in New Jersey would cut down on their revenue.

Christie in favor of referendum

Earlier this week, Gov. Chris Christie announced publicly that, not only would he vote “yes” on the contentious November referendum, but the he would campaign for it actively.

According to CBS New York, Christie announced his support this past March for the referendum. However, it wasn’t until this week that he pledged to campaign for it.

About the Author

Warren Jones

A three-time winner of the Florida Press Club Excellence in Journalism contest, Warren Jones works as a freelance writer with a focus on the NJ online gambling and online casino industry. He writes for a number of publications, including Bespoke Post, Our Amazing Norway, Barcelona Metropolitan, Snooth, and the Villages Daily Sun.