Poll: Outlook Remains Bleak For North Jersey Casinos As Election Day Nears

A new poll produced more bad news for the possibility of casinos coming to North Jersey.

The latest poll on North Jersey casinos

New Jersey voters will have the opportunity to allow for the addition of up to two casinos outside of Atlantic City via a ballot measure next month.

That referendum continues to look like it has little chance of gaining voters’ approval based on the latest polling numbers from Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind.

Nearly three in four voters opposed the authorization of North Jersey casinos, the poll found. Only 24 percent of registered voters surveyed supported a North Jersey expansion, while 70 percent planned to vote against the referendum.

That’s sizable movement from a poll from FDU conducted in June. Then, 35 percent of respondents were in favor of casinos, and 58 percent said they were opposed.

A poll released earlier in October found similar opposition to the ballot measure.

Why does no one want North Jersey casinos?

At one point this year, a poll found the two sides of the measure to be in a dead heat.

Support for the issue, however, has dissipated over the summer and fall. FDU’s PublicMind indicated that is not a surprising result.

“This is an issue we’ve been polling on for years, and there has never been broad and deep support for allowing casinos to expand beyond Atlantic City. It’s no surprise, then, that backers of the amendment are having a hard time selling the idea to voters,” said Krista Jenkins, professor of political science and director of PublicMind.

Drilling into the data behind the poll, respondents expressed a belief that the state already has enough casinos (36 percent) and that North Jersey casinos would harm Atlantic City (26 percent). More from Jenkins:

“When over a third of registered voters believe their casino fix is amply satisfied by what’s already here, and worry that more will do to other communities what casinos did to Atlantic City, the ‘more is better’ argument is a tough sell.”

The ‘no’ campaign gained traction

Part of the reason the referendum seems destined to fail is the money being spent by interests opposing it.

More than $20 million has been spent on both sides of the issue, but more money was deployed by a group that is backed by New York casinos. Those gaming facilities don’t want to see more casinos built closer to them and create greater regional competition.

More from the poll release:

“The aggressive media campaign against additional casinos in the northern part of the state most likely influenced increased opposition to the amendment,” said Donald Hoover, former casino executive and senior lecturer at the Fairleigh Dickinson University International School of Hospitality and Tourism Management.

Opposition also comes from southern New Jersey, as interests in and around AC believe new casinos will hurt the region. That’s despite the fact that money generated from North Jersey casinos would help the struggling resort town, according to the provisions of the referendum.

To prove that no one is taking the result of the measure for granted, the No North Jersey Casinos Coalition is holding a rally on the Boardwalk on Thursday.

About the Author

Warren Jones

Aside from his role as editor at LegalSportsReport.com, Warren Jones writes extensively about the legal online gaming and US online poker industries, having played poker recreationally for his entire adult life. He has also covered sports for The Washington Post and the D.C. Examiner, among others.