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N.J. residents mostly opposed to casino expansion, poll finds

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Despite a recent push from several northern New Jersey legislators to expand casino gaming in the state beyond Atlantic City, a new Fairleigh Dickinson PublicMind Poll released Wednesday shows that most residents don't support it.

According to the poll, 56 percent of state residents are opposed to casino expansion, compared with just 37 percent who are in favor of it.

Wednesday’s poll data is largely unchanged since the last time the question was asked, in February.

“The public is questioning the logic behind allowing the spread of casino gambling,” poll director and FDU professor Krista Jenkins said. “They don’t seem to be sold on the idea of saving the gaming industry in the state by allowing it to spread.”

The poll comes as many in the Legislature are working on placing the question of casino expansion on the upcoming November ballot. While many northern New Jersey leaders support the prospect of casinos in areas such as the Meadowlands and Jersey City, most southern New Jersey legislators oppose it, saying an expansion would further hurt Atlantic City.

Jenkins said the poll’s results “underscore the difficulty legislators are going to have if they proceed with putting a referendum on the ballot in November.”

“The key to attracting people to other venues as well as Atlantic City, seems to be the availability of non-gaming attractions,” Jenkins said. “People told us things like hotels, restaurants and concert venues are important amenities when deciding where to go when gambling is on their minds. Proximity to home matters, but not as much.”

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