Meadowlands Casino?

According to PolitickerNJ, N.J. State Senator Nick Sacco (D-North Bergen) would like to see a casino built at the Meadowlands:

So when asked about the slim possibility that a casino could be built at the Meadowlands, in his legislative backyard, Sacco is all for it. But he said do it right.

"We would wipe out the competition," Sacco told PolitickerNJ, but, he said, "Public safety is a major issue."

Although Sacco hasn’t "really studied the issue" of a casino and hasn’t been a part of the Democrat's gaming summit, he visited a new Pennsylvania casino recently and he likes the idea of augmenting the racetrack with gambling. But in even in Pennsylvania, he made sure to contact security when he arrived at the casino, and they toured the facility at his side.

The notion of creating a Northern New Jersey gambling mecca at the Meadowlands has been around for some time, but was given a lift yesterday by New York State's Comptroller who awarded a Malaysian-based company a 30-year license to build and operate a casino at the Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens. The complex will house as many as 4,500 video lottery terminals (VLTs).

What does this mean for New Jersey?

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer:

The awarding of another slots license to a New York racetrack comes as New Jersey lawmakers and Gov. Christie mull the future of gambling in the Garden State.

The second of three gaming summit hearings was held last Friday at the Pegasus West complex at the Meadowlands Racetrack and attracted close to 600 people.

Several labor and trade groups and members of the horse racing industry - who are pushing for VLTs at the Meadowlands Racetrack - accused Christie of ignoring their struggling industry and North Jersey with his Atlantic City overhaul plan, which he announced July 21.

"That whooshing sound you hear is money flying out of New Jersey into the coffers of New York state," Sen. Ray Lesniak (D., Union) said Monday in response to the Aqueduct project. Lesniak, a member of the Democratic legislative panel that is holding the hearings, is pushing to add sports betting and Internet gaming at Atlantic City casinos.

Sen. Paul Sarlo (D., Bergen), whose district includes the Meadowlands, said Aqueduct strengthens his argument for a world-class casino at the Meadowlands.

"This is not just about New Yorkers using these facilities, but convenience gamblers from northern New Jersey counties, especially Bergen County, will flock to Aqueduct," he said.

Ka-ching, ka-ching!

There's nothing like the prospect of a cash-cow business in their own backyard to quicken a politician's pulse.

Would this really be a good thing for us here in Northern New Jersey?

I'm not for it.

Someone provide a compelling reason why we need another 'Atlantic City' in our own backyard, and how it will improve the quality of life for Northern New Jersey residents?

The link between casinos and increased serious, violent crime is not speculation, according to one long-term study:

The study, "Casinos, Crime and Community Costs," looked at all 3,165 counties in the United States from 1977 to 1996. Its conclusion: Five years after a casino opens, serious crime in the area goes up dramatically when compared to neighboring areas, even after adjusting for economic trends and other factors.

According to the study, five years after a casino opens, robbery in the community goes up 136 percent, aggravated assault is up 91 percent, auto theft is up 78 percent, burglary is up 50 percent, larceny is up 38 percent, rape is up 21 percent and murder is up 12 percent, compared to neighboring communities.

Crime-lowering effects, like additional police and the new jobs represented by a casino are overwhelmed by rising crime increased by the presence of the casino, according to the study.


Have State Senators Sacco, Sarlo, Lesniak, and any others supporting this plan studied it's impact on neighboring communities?

If they and our other elected representatives are really concerned with public safety and quality of life issues associated turning the Meadowlands into a gambling mecca, then they'd better.

In the meantime, if you haven't seen the new Cablevision program The New Jersey Civil Circus hosted by Bill Brennan, I implore you to.

Brennan's first program focuses on corruption over at the North Hudson Regional Fire and Rescue, starting with a couple of Directors whom he calls 'perps with paychecks'... simply dynamite.