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Report: In future, Sweeney may eye casinos in Newark, Camden, Jersey City

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It's no great secret that North Jersey lawmakers have long had their eyes on bringing a casino to the Meadowlands.

In December, an Assembly committee advanced a bill supporting the study of expanding casinos in New Jersey to Bergen County. But opposition from the South Jersey delegation and a five-year commitment from the Governor's Office to improve Atlantic City's tourism district has seemingly kept expansion off the table.

In an editorial board meeting with The Press of Atlantic City Thursday, Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-West Deptford) said Atlantic City deserves to get the full five years of attention it was granted in 2011 but after that, casino expansion could be in play.

Sweeney told the paper if the expansion does happen to not expect the Meadowlands and Monmouth Park to be shoe-ins for new casinos. Instead, cities like Newark, Camden and Jersey City could be targets.

Sweeney said those cities could benefit from hosting casinos, according to the paper.

On internet gaming, Sweeney told the paper that while he believes it will help lift gambling revenue, he accused Christie of "way over-project(ing)" the potential benefits.

Though Christie predicted last March that online gaming revenue would hit $1.2 billion in the first year, analysts have instead pointed to $200 to $300 million as a more realistic outlook.

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Andrew George

Andrew George

Andrew George covers the Statehouse from NJBIZ's Trenton bureau. Born and raised in N.J., Andrew has also spent time as a reporter in D.C., Texas and Pa. His email is andrewg@njbiz.com and he is @AndrGeorge on Twitter.

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