NJ Greens Oppose Ballot Measure 1 to Expand Casino Gaming
On November 8th, voters in New Jersey will vote on Ballot Measure 1, which would allow casino gaming to expand into 2 additional, unnamed counties within the state. It would have a devastating impact on the local economy, not only in Atlantic City, but throughout the county. Any benefits of building new casinos in the 2 unnamed counties would be limited, and are more likely offset by the detrimental effects on those communities. The Atlantic County and Ocean County Chapters of GPNJ, supported by state party leadership, urge voters to vote "No" on this measure.
Atlantic City has depended on tourism for its economy since it was established in the 1800s. The design of the casinos draws tourists away from locally-owned businesses, forcing businesses to close and impoverishing the community. The average income in Atlantic City is 60% LOWER than the NJ average. Violent crime is 500% HIGHER. One third of the population has left. Crime, prostitution, addiction, proliferation of pawn shops, and bankruptcies are all collateral damage of a predatory industry designed to extract wealth.
Green Party of New Jersey
For Immediate Release:
October 5, 2016
Since 2007 and the opening of the Parx Philadelphia Casino, the Atlantic County region has lost approximately 13,000 jobs (about 9% of the workforce) and an estimated 500 million in revenues. Unemployment is approximately 9%, and foreclosures in the area are almost 4 times the national average. There is no reason to believe the addition of 2 new casinos into the already well saturated Mid-Atlantic market would do anything but cannibalize visitors from the Atlantic City area. Moving visitors from South Jersey provides negligible benefits to North Jersey while drastically damaging South Jersey. North Jersey has a wide variety of industries, such as technology, pharmaceutical, finance, and manufacturing, but South Jersey has a far more limited variety of industries and a very different economy than the northern regions.
There is also a human side to this issue; the people of NJ can only lose. "There is more to this issue than money," says Al Clayton, 12 year casino employee. "Before voting yes, people should go to a Gamblers Anonymous meeting and talk to real people with real pain. Or sit in the casino and watch the players at 4 am on Wednesday morning."
It is important to note that each operating slot machine equates to one lost job in the local economy. The drive to develop and maintain players leads to predatory marketing and tacit promotion of compulsive gambling. Every game in a casino has a built-in house edge: the casinos will always win and the people of New Jersey will always lose.
The negative impact of casino expansion outweighs any potential gains builders, developers, and politicians might realize. Responsible politicians and voters should consider how the average New Jerseyan might be affected. The Green Party opposes any plan that will ultimately exclude, marginalize, and economically devastate entire communities.
For the sake of all New Jersey residents, please vote No on Ballot Measure 1.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Brian D. Powers, Membership Committee Chairperson, GPNJ at [email protected]
Ahmed El Touny , 2nd Vice-chair, GPNJ at [email protected]
Laura Genna, Communications Committee at [email protected]