By David Madden

TRENTON, N.J. (CBS) — A New Jersey Assembly committee was scheduled to hear today from Atlantic City mayor Don Guardian, who is opposed to a measure under consideration that could pave the way for a casino in the northern part of the state.

But Guardian cancelled his appearance, a spokesman saying a personal emergency came up that required his attention.

But Guardian’s absence in Trenton did not stop debate over the proposal between the sponsor, North Jersey Democrat Ralph Caputo, and a pair of Atlantic County counterparts who are against any expansion of casino gambling now.

Fellow Democrat Chris Brown says he makes part of his case on recent studies.

“Forty-two percent of those who gamble in the state of New Jersey come from North Jersey,” he said, “and we know that, if you put a casino in North Jersey, you’re simply going to cannibalize Atlantic City.”

Hopes are to reschedule Guardian’s appearance.

This proposal is just one of many being bandied about as legislators and the governor try to find a way to help Atlantic City through the closure of several casinos this year.