According to the owner of the Meadowlands racetrack, there’s no need to rush on expanding casinos to North Jersey.

That’s probably a good thing, since the voters handily shot down the idea in November via  referendum.

The latest on North Jersey casinos

Jeff Gural, who operates Meadowlands, said a proposal for Hard Rock International to build a casino on his property might take up to six years.

If New York starts opening up more casinos near the New Jersey border, that will help push the possibility of North Jersey casinos along, Gural said. New Jersey’s neighbor started opening up commercial casinos around the state this year. Those have already started creating more competition for regional gaming and tourism dollars.

More from the Associated Press:

At the East Coast Gaming Congress in Atlantic City, he guaranteed a casino will eventually be built in northern New Jersey but said waiting until New York is breathing down New Jersey’s neck is the best way to get a casino expansion referendum passed. …

 

“I can last as long as it’s going to take,” Gural said. “I’d rather wait six years until New York is either open or ready to open, and then voters will say, ‘Wait a minute.'”

Gural’s comments appear to mean another ballot measure allowing for casinos outside of Atlantic City is not likely to happen this year, or even next.

Hard Rock also not in a rush

The AP also reported that Hard Rock isn’t too worried about the future of North Jersey, via CEO

Meanwhile, Hard Rock is already getting into the New Jersey gaming market. It bought the Trump Taj Mahal in AC and will reopen it as a Hard Rock-branded property in 2018. The company is pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into a renovation and revamp.

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Will anyone be interested in upsetting the NJ status quo?

While the situation has been dire in recent years in Atlantic City — especially with a spate of casino resort closures in 2014 — 2017 has seen a bit of a turnaround.

The aforementioned Hard Rock investment in the city is a part of it. MGM is fully committed to Borgata as a 100-percent owner. NJ online gambling has helped turned the fortunes of gaming revenue for AC casinos, which have posted year-over-year increases for the first time in decade.

And then there was this:

More from the Press of AC here. In any event, with AC experiencing at least a brief rejuvenation, people might be skeptical of adding North Jersey casinos into the mix right now.

Still, the more prudent choice in the long-term is likely building casinos that can compete with other casino states in the region — like NY, Maryland and Pennsylvania.

So for now, North Jersey casinos are likely to stay on hold for both practical and political reasons.

Dustin Gouker

About

Aside from his role as editor at LegalSportsReport.com, Dustin Gouker writes extensively about the legal online gaming and US online poker industries, having played poker recreationally for his entire adult life. He has also covered sports for The Washington Post and the D.C. Examiner, among others.