New Jersey voters dealt four aces for casino gambling in Atlantic City and resort residents exploded in the start of a celebration that headed toward a July 4 and New Year’s Eve bash wrapped into a November night.

The vote in favor of legalizing casino gambling in Atlantic City tipped to the “Yes” column throughout most of the early evening and shortly before midnight the No. 1 public question on the ballot was declared a winner by sources tabulating results.

With 4,470 of 5,569 districts in the state reporting, 1,175,225 votes favored casinos and 924,412 opposed.

In contrast, the 1974 gambling referendum was defeated by a total vote of 1,202,638 to 790,777.

Atlantic City voters overwhelmingly supported the casino question and they also voted in favor of a change in their city’s form of government. Resort residents voted 7,764 to 4,901 in favor of a mayor-council government to replace the present five-man commission government.

The Atlantic County vote on casinos was 59,550 “Yes” to 13,624 “No.”

Unofficial returns at the pro-casino headquarters in Atlantic City showed the vote in favor of legalizing gambling in the resort early in the evening.

A battery of telephones was set up in the headquarters to gather election results from key areas of the state.

Atlantic County was voting strongly in favor of casinos and as the tally continued through the hours after the 8 p.m. closing of the polls, there was an excitement that mounted as returns from throughout the state were messaged in.