On the heels of a proposal to expand casinos in New Jersey outside of Atlantic City, Hard Rock International is pitching a new gambling facility at the Meadowlands Racetrack.
The proposed casino in East Rutherford, announced June 3, is projected to generate $400 million in new tax revenues a year for the Garden State, according to Hard Rock International Chairman Jim Allen.
The plan hinges on state lawmakers approving legislation asking voters to approve a constitutional amendment allowing casinos outside of Atlantic City. Assembly Democrats Ralph Caputo of Belleville, Valerie Vainieri Huttle of Englewood and Raj Mukherji of Jersey City announced on June 1 they would like to open three new casinos in northern New Jersey.
"With its close proximity to an international airport, the new casino would be designed to attract visitors from not only the 14 million adults in northern New Jersey and New York City, but also international travelers, making it a premier entertainment destination," said Allen in a statement. "The significant tax revenue brought into New Jersey could go directly to aid in the development and reconstruction of Atlantic City's casino and hotel industry."
Allen said the casino could open in late 2016, and feature 5,000 slot machines and 200 gambling tables. The project would also consist of 10 restaurants, a multipurpose Hard Rock Live showroom, New Jersey Music Hall of Fame and a music memorabilia collection area called "The Vault." A six-story parking garage would also be built close to the casino grounds.
State Sen. Richard Codey, D-Livingston, released a statement on June 3 emphasizing how casinos in North Jersey would benefit the entire state. Codey helped author New Jersey's original legislation in the mid-1970s that brought casino gaming to Atlantic City when he was a state assemblyman.
"By having the potential new casinos in northern New Jersey there would be sufficient distance from Atlantic City as to not take from their current customer base," said Codey, who served as acting governor from 2004 to 2006. "These northern casinos would attract a customer base that Atlantic City has already lost to New York and Pennsylvania."