Battle Over Casino Expansion In North Jersey Getting Serious

NEWARK, N.J. (CBS) – New Jersey voters will be asked this fall to approve a constitutional amendment that would allow for a pair of casinos in North Jersey.

The campaign for and against the idea is likely to be long and expensive. Opponents to the idea are launching their first multimedia advertisement aimed at shaping public opinion on the question.

The group Trenton’s Bad Bet is comprised of community groups, businesses and labor unions united to keep casinos in Atlantic City.

Trenton's Bad Bet executive director Bill Cortese (photo provided)

Trenton’s Bad Bet executive director Bill Cortese (photo provided)

Bill Cortese, the group’s Executive Director, says the people pushing the expansion have not been straight with the people, and not just when it comes to this issue:

“Politicians in Trenton haven’t been able to pave the roads. Haven’t been able to fund the TTF. Have underfunded our schools over and over again and can’t meet pension obligations,” Cortese told KYW Newsradio. “It’s very hard for us to believe they’re going to do the right thing when it comes to casinos in North Jersey.”

And then there’s the question of what the cost will be to the eight casinos in Atlantic City, set to shrink to seven with the scheduled mid-October shutdown of the Trump Taj Mahal.

“We’ve seen Wall Street reports tell us if you build two casinos in North Jersey, you’re going to see three to five casinos go under in Atlantic City,” Cortese said.

He won’t say just how much money he’s spending on the multi-week run of this 30 second spot that’ll blanket the state through media outlets in New York and Philadelphia as well as cable (see it here).

They’re also working on a street effort to get local leaders involved in the fight.

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