By S.P. Sullivan | NJ.com on August 20, 2014 at 5:01 AM
CARLSTADT — With one casino in Atlantic City already shuttered this year and another three expected to close shortly, a regional business group yesterday rolled out its grand vision for a Meadowlands of the future — with as many as four casinos.
The proposal, presented by the Meadowlands Regional Chamber of Commerce to business leaders and reporters, conjures several possible gambling meccas, including a resort-style hotel and casino and a combination race track and casino — otherwise known as a racino — at the Meadowlands Racetrack.
The ambitious plan was missing one crucial ingredient: money.
“Who’s going to pay for it?” the chamber president, Jim Kirkos, said. “We’re going to ask people to step up to the table and come up with ideas.”
Kirkos added that proposals to open New Jersey’s casino gambling licenses to areas beyond Atlantic City have generated “significant private interest” in a Meadowlands establishment.
The New Jersey Constitution limits casino gambling to Atlantic City, but the announced closings of Showboat, Revel and Trump Plaza — leaving eight gaming halls in the seashore resort — have intensified the drumbeat for a 2015 referendum on expanding gambling to other parts of the state.
Banking on that possibility, the Meadowlands chamber updated its 2011 “vision plan” for the sports complex, now home to MetLife Stadium, the Izod Center, Meadowlands Racetrack and the long-stalled American Dream Meadowlands project.
That vision includes 2,000 new hotel rooms, a 1-million-square-foot convention center, up to 20,000 additional parking spaces and a 1½-mile monorail to move visitors around the complex. The total cost is estimated at nearly $1.2 billion.