[toc]The latest poll released on Oct. 24 shows a collapse in popular support for the casino expansion amendment that would allow more casinos to be built in North Jersey.
Only 24 percent of respondents in the Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind poll say they support the expansion, with 70 percent opposed.
The poll was conducted between Oct. 12 and Oct. 16, and reported a significant change of opinion compared to a similar poll conducted in June.
In the last poll 35 percent were in favor and only 58 percent were opposed. The new poll shows that opposition is strong even in voters who have visited a casino in recent months—64 percent against.
In September, the Rutgers Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling reported results showing 50 percent opposed and 40 percent in favor.
The arguments for casino expansion appear to have failed to resonate with voters, and the prospects for the amendment being passed on Nov. 8 are now infinitesimal.
Voters believe there are enough casinos in NJ
Krista Jenkins, professor of political science and director of PublicMind, said:
“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.”
After the September poll, the Our Turn NJ group which was lobbying for more casinos announced that it would no longer pay for advertising to promote the campaign.
Since then the high profile closure of the Trump Taj Mahal casino, and the possibility of the state taking over the administration of Atlantic City have produced media headlines that have not helped to promote the cause of expansion.
“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.”
Less competition should be positive for Atlantic City casinos
Fitch Ratings estimated that the amendment could lead to four more Atlantic City casinos closing. The chief executive of Resorts Casino, Mark Giannantonio, forecast that up to five could shortly close.
Certainly the New Jersey casino market is under pressure. New casinos in New York and Pennsylvania make the extra distance to Atlantic City a deterrent to much of the market that was formerly within AC’s geographical reach.
The city’s financial problems also mean less maintenance and development so the former glory of the Boardwalk is now looking tired and in need of updating.
At least for the next few years, AC’s surviving casinos need all the help they can get.
Against the expectations of opponents of online gambling, New Jersey’s experiment in introducing state-regulated gaming has been a positive for its casinos.
The NJ online casino sites they have set up have brought more visitors to the land-based properties, and more importantly, the new customers come from the millennial demographic that casinos have found hard to attract.