New Jersey Gubernatorial Candidates Support North Jersey Casinos

North Jersey Casinos - Kim Guadagno - Phil Murphy

Guadagno and Murphy support North Jersey casinos, while Murphy will end state oversight of Atlantic City finances.

In a little over two weeks, the people of New Jersey will vote to determine who replaces Chris Christie as the state’s government: either Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno (R) or former US ambassador to Germany Phil Murphy (D). The candidates disagree on almost every issue, but both have a similar stance on Atlantic City’s casino monopoly.

Both Guardagno and Murphy want to end Atlantic City’s monopoly as the only place in New Jersey with brick-and-mortar casinos. The two discussed the issue in the final debate before the November 7 election.

During the debate, each supported a plan for building North Jersey casinos. For Phil Murphy, the issue is not a choice of whether Atlantic City should be allowed to have a monopoly, because the former Goldman Sachs executive said that decision is beyond New Jersey’s control.

North Jersey or New York Casinos?

Phil Murphy believes alternatives to Atlantic City casinos will be built in close proximity to New York City in the next few years. The question is whether New York State will beat New Jersey to the punch, or vice versa.

The candidate for the Democrats said, “If it’s not in North Jersey, before we know it, it will be on the west side of Manhattan. I’d rather that gaming, and those jobs created, be in New Jersey.”

Phil Murphy to End Atlantic City Oversight

The Democrat Party’s candidate also said he would end the government takeover of Atlantic City’s finances, if elected. Vowing to send a SWAT team from Trenton” to help Atlantic City with its finances, Guadagno criticized Christie’s decision to appoint financial overseers for the city.

Murphy said of state-controlled oversight, “Show me the evidence where it’s been successful and where the people of the community have benefited. I don’t see the evidence.”

Kim Guadagno on the Issues

Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno, who also serves as NJ Secretary of State, will stand for office and oversee the election — the Secrety of State administers elections, as well as artistic, cultural, historical programs. On the issues, Kim Guadagno positioned herself as a moderate Republican.

Known for cutting red tape on business regulations, Kim Guadagno wants to help the casino industry gain an advantage. She does not see retrenching in Atlantic City as the way of the future, so the lieutenant governer gave a similar response as Murphy on the North Jersey casino issue. Kim Guadagno has not given a bold statement on Atlantic City oversight, but presumably is more likely to maintain Christie’s oversight regime.

Both Supported North Jersey Casinos

It appears that Guadagno and Murphy both would would sign a bill that approved North Jersey casinos, if the legislature approved such measures. That is different than championing the issue with lawmakers, which is still a matter of doubt. North Jersey casinos represent a thorny, unpopular issue at the moment.

In a November 2016 statewide referendum, the North Jersey casino issue lost by a wide margin: 78% to 22%. The iniatitive was voted down, despite $24 million being spent by both sides to shape public opinion.

Of course, $14.8 million of the money spent was against the measure. Genting Group and Empire Resorts, which own gaming operations in Queens and Yonkers, respectively, contributed millions apiece to the “No” proposition. Those backing the North Jersey casino stopped funding their public relations campaign over a month before the election, because polls showed they would receive a drubbing on election day, with perhaps 35% of the vote or less.

Phil Murphy Likely to Win

Current polls show Phil Murphy with a substantial lead over Kim Guadagno. A FoxNews Poll shows Murphy with a 47% to 35% lead over Guadagno. The poll has a plus/minus of 3%, so Murphy’s advantage is well within the margin or error.

Though polls have been derided since Donald Trump’s election, the national polls just prior to the election showed Hillary Clinton winning the popular vote by about 2%, which was correct. Individual state polls in Rust Belt states were not as accurate, though internal polls conducted by the Clinton and Trump campaigns were quite accurate. Jared Kushner, who oversaw polling for the Trump campaign, was quite certain of victory in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin — the key states. The Clinton campaign had two of the three states accurately polled, which explained the repeated visits and big concerts the campaign had in both states in the days leading up to the election.

2 North Jersey Casinos

Most proposals called for a two North Jersey casinos, likely in the Meadowlands and Jersey City. The idea was to draw gamblers from New York City, while also keeping North Jersey gamblers from going into New York State or Eastern Pennsylvania to gamble.

Whoever wins, a new referendum cannot be placed on a ballot in North Jersey until 2018. State laws require an iniatitive voted down to remain off the ballot for at least 2 years.