Sun Editorial: New Jersey got the vote right saying ‘no’ to North Jersey casinos

Voters overwhelmingly shot the idea down in last week’s election.

BY SUN STAFF

In last week’s controversial General Election, one thing is certain: New Jersey voters got it right when they voted “no” on the ballot question that would have allowed for expanded gambling options in North Jersey.

The referendum question asked voters whether they would approve of amending the state constitution to allow two casinos to be built at least 72 miles north of Atlantic City. Not only did voters say “no” to that, they did so at a historic rate.

As of last Wednesday morning, the ballot question was voted down by more than 1.5 million votes, according to Associated Press projections. That’s the largest margin of defeat for any referendum in New Jersey’s history. The previous holder of that title was a question that sought approval to build a professional baseball stadium at the Meadowlands complex; that vote failed by “only” 500,000 votes.

The majority of the electorate cast its votes along the line of what we have been saying for awhile now: New Jersey doesn’t need more gambling; it needs a refining and retuning of what it already has in Atlantic City.

We don’t need to look at other locations to place the same type of gambling and casino resorts. We need to turn around the one location where it already exists.

Atlantic City can get back to the successful resort town it once was. Yes, it will take hard work, dedication and new, creative views. But it can be done.

Legalized sports betting could help overnight, but that’s a discussion for another day.

In the meantime, Atlantic City officials need to get creative to attract more visitors to the Jersey Shore town, and build it up as a destination for more than just gambling. The city has focused on this for the last few years, but it needs to do even more.

We applaud New Jersey voters who said “no” to more of the same. This needs to not be a North Jersey versus South Jersey issue. It needs to be an issue that our entire state tackles head on, for the good of our state economy.