While testifying at the Assembly Regulatory Oversight and Gaming Committee hearing at the Meadowlands on Wednesday, Assemblyman Tim Eustace unveiled a proposal to seek voter approval to allow temporary, or “pop-up casinos,” during special events to boost New Jersey’s economy by capitalizing on an influx in visitors.
“While the Governor has touted several exciting events coming to Northern New Jersey over the next two years including The Grand Prix, Wrestlemania and the 2014 Super Bowl, all of these events would be more economically fruitful if we also had a casino to complement them.
“Like a County Fair, a carnival or a music festival that takes place in a parking lot and within a week disappears, a pop-up casino could be created in a similar way. With events coming to Northern New Jersey and thousands of tourists descending on our communities we could entertain them on our side of the New York and Pennsylvania border. Once the influx of tourists is gone, so too would the pop-up casino.
“Thousands of temporary jobs would be created and with that millions of dollars would be funneled into our state economy that might otherwise go to our border states. Atlantic City would still be the destination location we’re trying to make it, we would just be adding to our coffers for important projects that gaming money is used to support.
“I intend to propose a pilot project over the next four years to create a new policy for gaming in New Jersey, one that will benefit all of New Jersey without hurting our long term goals of revitalizing Atlantic City. Following voter approval of a ballot referendum, the legislature would then vote to allow these pop-up casinos to take place on an individual basis. As large events stream through over the next four years, it would be decided whether or not to allow the pop-up casino take place.
“A short pilot program such as this would let us determine the impact a casino at the Meadowlands might have on Atlantic City instead of leaving it to continued speculation. The jobs created, revenue collected and knowledge gained would allow the state to decide finally whether we should expand our gaming options or keep them limited to Atlantic City.
“I believe we’ll see potential for our state to compete with Nevada as number one in gaming and with that we’ll be able to create more opportunities for our residents,” said Eustace.