According to a report by the Associated Press on May 26, 2015, a new casino is said to open in New Jersey, outside the limits of Atlantic City. The proposed facility is said to be a collaboration between Meadowlands Racetrack and Hard Rock International, awaiting opening in summer 2016 (or early fall), under the name Hard Rock Casino Meadowlands.
Will it Reap Millions?
With a plan to house 200 gaming tables, 5,000 slot machines, 10 specialty restaurants, a memorabilia museum, a Hard Rock Live showroom, and the New Jersey Music Hall of Fame, the casino is expected to crunch some big numbers in terms of revenue that it would bring in. It essentially aims at bringing Las Vegas-style gambling closer to the country’s largest city in terms of population. Also, being situated close to the international airport, it could soon turn into a tourist hub.
According to a study conducted by Deutsche Bank, this massive project could generate an annual revenue of $500 million when completed. Jim Allen, CEO of the Hard Rock, says that their estimates surpass the $500 million figure. In terms of investment, a massive $1 billion is said to have been allocated, paving the way for 2,360 construction jobs and over 5,000 ongoing jobs. The vision of the project is to create a world-class entertainment center.
Consequences in the State
For the Hard Rock Casino Meadowlands to become a reality, the New Jersey Constitution would have to be amended to allow a casino within the city’s limits. The state’s policy and lawmakers are working to put the issue before the voters by early November 2015, in the form of a referendum. If all goes well, the Hard Rock Casino Meadowlands might also have a few close neighbors. Several other groups have expressed an interest to open casinos outside the borders of Atlantic City. So, does November look positive? Lawmakers who would be attending the ballot appear to be in favor of this new casino.
Atlantic City in Distress
Atlantic City has budget shortfall of $101 million. Experts have recommended $10 million in city cuts, which could mean hundreds of layoffs. An emergency management team has been appointed to turn the situation around. “The acute financial distress facing the City is imminent and the causes of such distress are not transitory,” said emergency manager Kevin Lavin in the report. “Absent an urgent, material realignment of revenues and expenses, this crisis will rapidly deepen and will threaten the City’s ability to deliver and maintain essential government services impacting the health, safety and welfare of its residents.”
The Hard Rock Casino Meadowlands is likely to generate over $400 million annually as a part of the tax revenues for the state. It also means that the people in Northern New Jersey will not have to leave the state to gamble. Jim Allen says that such extra revenue incurred by the state can be used to redevelop Atlantic City.
Why the Pressure on November 2015
Lawmakers and interested parties are looking to secure an approval by the end of the year because 2016 is an election year and it might become difficult to secure an immediate approval for casinos, meaning the project might have to be pushed, or worse, shelved.
A similar situation prevails in the Empire State, where the casino industry is pushing for the approval of four casinos. However, the state is only allowing facilities in the upstate area for now.