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Secret North NJ Casino Meetings

Published: July 3, 2014 12:39 pm ET

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New Jersey Senate President Stephen Sweeney has said that he has held private meetings regarding northern New Jersey casino expansion for the past year. Additionally, Sweeney has said that there is a “very real possibility” that the issue could go to referendum in November of 2015.

Sweeney’s comments came during a meeting with The Record’s editorial board on Wednesday, July 2.

“I’ve talked to people up here (officials in northern New Jersey) about gaming,” Sweeney was quoted as saying. He later added, “I am looking at it (expansion in northern New Jersey) and I have looked at it for almost a year.”

The report has also quoted Sweeney as saying that there is a reason why he has “publicly said things completely on the contrary” regarding northern New Jersey casino expansion, citing apparent political showboating by politicians that are trying to make northern expansion a reality.

Jeff Gural, operator of the Meadowlands Racetrack, has made it publicly known that he wants to bring casino gaming to the Meadowlands. The report has also cited former Atlantic City casino executive Steve Norton as saying that the State of New Jersey could collect $300-$350 million in annual taxes if casino expansion is allowed at the Meadowlands.

New Jersey is currently in the midst of a five-year moratorium on casino expansion outside of Atlantic City. The ban – which is on any consideration of statewide expansion – is supposed to be in place until the early parts of 2016. The possibility of a 2015 ballot question would obviously go against the ban.

(With files from The Record)

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