Study finds few benefits for North Jersey casino expansion
A new Rutgers study finds that if voters in November green-light the ballot question in favor of allowing North Jersey casinos, the state would realize only a slight decrease in it's budget deficit, but not much else in the way of benefits.
Rutgers researcher Michael Lahr crunched some numbers and bounced the potential for positives against the possible negatives of adding North Jersey gaming halls to the state's gambling industry. He says the benefit bottom line for New Jersey's budget is "the budget deficit goes down slightly. We are talking to the tune of $67 million." That works out to a state budget deficit reduction of about 1.2 percent, according to the study.
Lahr collaborated with Maria Alvarez-Martinez, a former postdoctoral scholar in taking a look at several popular assumptions about adding North Jersey casinos. Lahr and Alvarez-Martinez are both faculty members at Rutgers Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy.
Lahr says his study shows relatively few new permanent jobs would be created because the North Jersey gaming halls would not be a destination for families, thus no strong need for hospitality, entertainment and lodging. The study maintains that with gambling the only focus of the new casinos, they would lack the all around attractions of a destination.
On the other hand, for Atlantic City casinos, Lahr says "for sure, it will potentially harm their business."
"I am not saying that they are claiming that five casinos would go down the tubes. I think that that is an overexageration on their part," he said.
Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor on New Jersey 101.5