At a hearing in Trenton a bill was proposed that would create a 13-member commission to consider the prospect of a casino in Bergen County. The commission, which would issue a report within a year, would also study the impact of incentives put in place three years ago to assist a struggling Atlantic City.
Gov. Chris Christie instituted that package of incentives, which included creating a tourism district in Atlantic City and providing casinos with relief from certain costly regulations.
As part of that package, the governor gave Atlantic City five years to show improvement before he would consider asking voters to approve casinos elsewhere in the state.
Three years have passed since then.
Assemblyman Ralph Caputo (D-Essex), who heads the panel, said it is time to begin looking into expanding casino gambling to other localities. Lawmakers in southern New Jersey object, fearing that it will negatively impact a still-hurting Atlantic City.
According to the Associated Press, the bill should be voted on by the Assembly Tourism and Gaming Committee within the next month, and sent to the full Assembly after that. —Art Schwartz