New Jersey Voters Oppose New Casinos, But State May Still Need to Consider It

Posted on: November 15, 2022, 06:05h. 

Last updated on: November 15, 2022, 07:25h.

New Jersey voters aren’t necessarily inclined to support an expansion of casino gaming in the state. That’s according to a poll from Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU).

Informative ridden by Dexter Haddock
Informative ridden by Dexter Haddock wins the $250,000 Grade III Philip H. Iselin Stakes at Monmouth Park Racetrack in Oceanport, NJ on Aug. 20. Dennis Drazin, chairman and CEO of Monmouth operator Darby Development, said the track wants to be included in any discussion of gaming expansion in New Jersey.  (Image: Ryan Denver/EQUI-PHOTO)

Just 37% of those surveyed say they support adding new casinos outside of Atlantic City, and 51% say they’re opposed. Those results are similar to what FDU found with Garden State voters six years ago.

And FDU also found that opposition to casino expansion crosses ideological lines. Most Republicans (53%) and Independents (54%) oppose it, as do half of the Democrats polled.

“Views of casino expansion in New Jersey have been crystallized for years,” said Dan Cassino, a government and politics professor at FDU and the executive director of the poll. “None of the arguments that have been made in favor of expansion have made any dent.”

New Jersey has nine land-based casinos in the resort city in the southern part of the state. It’s also one of six states that allow iGaming, also known as online casinos.

New York Preparing for Casino Expansion

The question comes up again as New York prepares to add up to three full-fledged casinos, all of which are likely to be built in or around New York City.

Three members of a siting board were appointed in New York last month, and the solicitation for casino license applications is expected to be released by early next year. Still, New York officials do not expect to issue any licenses until closer to the end of 2023.

New York officials expect each casino approved to command a licensing fee of at least $500 million.

New Jersey Racetracks Interested

Among those that are most likely to be impacted by the gaming expansion in New York are the racetrack owners in New Jersey. Dennis Drazin, chairman and CEO of Darby Development which operates Monmouth Park in Oceanport told earlier this week it’s critical the state consider letting the tracks offer casino gaming.

Monmouth Park would like to be included in any gaming expansion to North Jersey and I think that if a casino opens in New York City, the legislators, casino industry, and governor will consider how to keep business in New Jersey,” Drazin said in an email.

FDU’s Cassino said the combination of New York’s new casinos and the desire to generate more revenue will put pressure on lawmakers.

“But if the state wants those casinos, they’re going to have to change a lot of minds,” he added.

Of the four age groups in FDU’s data subsets, only one – adults aged 31 to 44 – favor adding casinos elsewhere, and that’s by a 47% to 39% margin. New Jersey seniors, however, are the group most opposed to the proposal, with only 25% supporting it and 65% opposed. Adults under 30 surveyed and those aged 45 to 64 have support/opposition figures (37-50 and 38-51, respectively) that closely resemble the overall numbers.

FDU polled 801 registered New Jersey voters. The margin of error is 3.5 percentage points. They also polled voters about their preferences for smoking in casinos, and the survey found just 29% want an outright ban on smoking in casinos.

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