Casino Proposals for Jersey City Get Underway
The state of New Jersey allows gambling only in Atlantic City. However, talks are underway between a venture capitalist from Massachusetts and NJ politicians regarding setting up a mega-casino and entertainment complex in Jersey City – across the harbour from New York City. The project comes with a hefty price tag of $4.6 billion, and it will feature the largest Ferris wheel in the world, a 107,500 seat motor sports arena and plenty of residences. Since the project will not be located in the traditional casino domain of Atlantic City, the only thing holding it back is approval from state legislators.
Jersey City and the Manhattan Skyline
The complex will offer residents and guests a panoramic view of the New York City skyline, with the World Trade Center just across the harbour. It will also host a convention centre, and will be located alongside the finest park in New Jersey. The developers and legislators are looking closely at the proposal, and are particularly concerned about the new development not harming Liberty State Park. The economic impetus generated by this new proposal would likely create an additional $5 billion worth of investment, and 25,000 jobs.
The former Atlantic City Mayor – Sen Jim Whelan – is of the opinion that it is only a matter of time before proposals to establish casinos outside of Atlantic City take place. The investor seeking to get this project up and running is the former CEO of Reebok – Paul Fireman. Forbes estimated his net worth in 2006 at a cool $1.1 billion. The casino will likely be located alongside the Liberty National Golf Course which Paul Fireman himself built eight years ago. Many congressmen have stood up to take notice of this proposal, especially since it involves such massive investment spending and brings with it the possibility of substantial employment.
Legislative Hurdles to New Casino Complex
The only obstacle in the way is that any legislation allowing casinos to operate outside of Atlantic City requires a public majority by putting it on the ballot. Four years ago, Gov Chris Christie attempted to put into place a 5 year plan to revitalise Atlantic City. The famed East Coast casino and hotel resort has been losing money hand over fist since neighbouring states began opening their own casinos and drawing in traffic that typically went into Atlantic City. Legislators around the Garden State have expressed their openness to hearing proposals about setting up casinos in the northern part of New Jersey.
Regardless of the ideas on the table, any potential operator will need to compete for a license under the terms and conditions laid out in the structural framework. New Jersey has a significant interest in preserving Atlantic City, perhaps more as an international tourist destination, rather than a gambling metropolis.