The moves this week toward bringing gambling to the Meadowlands seem ominous - especially coming this soon after the signing of Atlantic City casino legislation and news that deregulation savings would be far less than expected.
The Atlantic City Tourism District is far from up and running. Loose ends are everywhere. The fact that deregulation savings are so far less than expected is just one measure of how many questions have yet to be answered.
Yet racing advocates are already reopening the issue of casino gambling in the Meadowlands. On Monday, they announced a new $1.4 billion plan to build a casino at the stadium and racing complex. And the gaming forum planned March 31 by the Hall Institute of Public Policy — which has often seemed sympathetic to racing interests — is likely to be heavily pro-racing and pro-Meadowlands gaming.
Gov. Chris Christie has said that gaming should not be expanded in New Jersey until Atlantic City’s industry is back on track. Fact is, Revel CEO Kevin DeSanctis said one reason investors were willing to lend money for the project was the fact that Christie seemed committed to Atlantic City and to not expanding gambling into the Meadowlands.
Obviously, racing interests and northern New Jersey developers have other ideas. Here’s hoping they’re effort doesn’t gain traction in the Legislature - or the Governor’s Office.