It’s called ACR32, which doesn’t mean much to anyone.
Anyone, that is, except enterprising businesspeople and developers who want to build a casino in North Jersey. ACR32 is the name of a resolution proposed by longtime gambling supporter Assemblyman Ralph Caputo, an amendment that would rewrite the rules and allow casinos in North Jersey.
ACR32 was written previous to the November 2016 referendum in which a vote to allow casinos outside of Atlantic City failed by nearly a 2-to-1 margin.
However, according to an article from the Press of Atlantic City, ACR32 is still alive — Caputo brought it to the Assembly Tourism, Gaming, and the Arts Committee during this legislative session.
Why the push for North Jersey casinos in 2018?
The resurfacing of ACR32 via the endorsement of such a heavyweight in Caputo is interesting at this juncture in Atlantic City.
In one sense, it makes perfect sense because this is perhaps the climax of the Atlantic City resurrection after a few years of casino closures, big debt, and brash property owners. NJ sports betting also plays an important role.
Caputo’s move may very well be an example of the proverbial tide raising all boats, even those which have been battered by past failures.
Wrong place, wrong time
Yet the other side of the argument is that this is the wrong time to propose the expansion of the New Jersey casino industry.
Atlantic City’s profile hasn’t been this high and this visible in years. The energy and enthusiasm for the East Coast gambling mecca are incredible.
This emergence of regional pride would seem to be an overwhelming and opposing force to a legislative move to allow casinos in other parts of the state.
That Caputo would try and reintroduce casino expansion in the shadow of the Hard Rock AC’s and Ocean Resort’s massive inertia is gutsy, if not futile.
A war of attrition or an inevitable outcome?
Public opinion as recent as November 2016 indicates that citizens of the state are resolute in their rejection of expanding New Jersey’s casino industry beyond Atlantic City.
This sentiment reaches all the way back to when casinos first opened in New Jersey in 1978. Public opinion seems to be the immovable object.
However, the desire for tax revenue may eventually expand the state’s casino operations beyond the shore.
Pennsylvania is the prime example of this. Their considerable budget shortfall was a driving factor in passing a gambling expansion bill that would bring hundreds of millions of dollars to the state.
PA legislators were even willing to add satellite casinos to the mix, hoping that more locations would bring in more opportunities for revenue.
Put a state in a financial jam strong enough to jeopardize its financial well-being and anything is possible, even in a state as opposed to casino expansion as New Jersey.