Despite the thriving internet gaming and sports betting communities in Atlantic City, the expansion of casinos outside of the area doesn't seem to be on the cards. Over the last five years, cumulative internet gaming revenues surpassed the billion-dollar mark. Regardless of this figure, lobbyists that have been opposed to the expansion of this sort of gaming outside of its regular sphere continue to be vocal about their stance.

Previous pushes unsuccessful

“We know that those on the pro-expansion side are going to look for any leverage that they can find to push for North Jersey casinos [VIDEO], and, thus far, they’ve been unsuccessful,” was the official line from Bill Cortese, the head of a lobbying group based in Newark called Trenton's Bad Bet.

Both internet gaming and sports betting have contributed to the recovering of Atlantic City from the economic slump that started in 2006.

Revenue grew over three consecutive years from 2016 till 2018 and culminated with reported income of 2.85 billion dollars combined at the end of 2018. Gaming in Atlantic City has more than contributed to the economic growth of the area and has made it into a prosperous place to live and work once again.

However, a few short years ago, this wasn't the case. In 2014, four of the twelve poker playing casinos in the city closed down due to economic contraction and another one followed in 2016.

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At that time a referendum for the legalization of gambling outside of the Atlantic City limits was on the table, and the decision went against the legalization. In 2018 two new casinos opened and the owner of the Showboat hotel is reported as considering opening another.

Bad timing for bill

While the 2016 referendum was doomed because of its ill-timed tabling, many supporters of the bill don't think the time is yet ripe to reintroduce the law to be voted upon.

Sen. Ray Lesniak who proposed the 2016 bill doesn't feel that it would be entertained if presented today, despite still thinking that this is the right course of action. Meadowlands Race Track Jeff Gural similarly supports the bill, but is afraid of it being presented on a referendum, "Because I think if it loses again, it will never come back."

The referendum defeat carries with it a lot of lessons, but dwelling in the past may see the positive earnings of the casino's dip.

A wider, full spread of casinos have the potential to increase the revenues of the state through taxes, but only if they are willing to take the chance of tabling the bill for a referendum.

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