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Sen. President Suggests Possibility of Casino in Camden

He also believes Newark and Jersey City may benefit from having casinos in their cities.

State Sen. President Stephen Sweeney suggested the possibility of a casino in Camden to The Press of Atlantic City on Thursday.
State Sen. President Stephen Sweeney suggested the possibility of a casino in Camden to The Press of Atlantic City on Thursday.
State Sen. President Stephen Sweeney says New Jersey should target the state’s most distressed cities for casino expansion, The Press of Atlantic City reports.

Sweeney told that newspaper’s editorial board he believes the casino industry should expand into Camden, Newark or Jersey City.

Politicians have lobbied for a casino to be implemented at the racetrack at the Meadowlands, but Sweeney would rather see casinos in a place that would benefit the most financially, according to the report.

The implementation of a casino in Camden would fall in line with a multi-faceted efforts to improve the city. The state took over the city’s schools in 2013, while a joint venture with the county helped establish the Camden County Metro Division to handle crime in Camden last year.

The city continues to struggle, and any casino presence in Camden would have to overcome the city’s image as one of the most dangerous in America, as well as the advancement of the Pennsylvania casino industry.

Pennsylvania casinos have seen a financial boon since opening. In 2012, the Pennsylvania casino industry overtook Atlantic City as the second largest casino market in the country, behind Nevada, according to USA Today.

The industry in Pennsylvania is worth over $3.2 billion, according to that report, and 12 of the 14 casinos offer both table games and slot machines.

New York state voters approved the construction of seven casinos in New York on Election Day, meaning any casinos put in place in Newark and Jersey City would see their share of competition.

Sweeney also said the tourism district imposed by the state on Atlantic City needs to be given five years promised by Gov. Chris Christie to succeed before constructing casinos elsewhere in the state, according to The Press of Atlantic City. That five year timeframe began in February of 2011.

Occupant February 07, 2014 at 03:03 PM
What fantastic news... I just can't wait to take my wife to beautiful downtown Camden NJ and go gambling, dinner and a show and then a good mugging in the parking lot on the way home and if we're lucky maybe we'll get shot and robbed by a couple of drug dealers and spend 5 beautiful nights at the Ritz Cooper Hospital courtesy of comps from George Norcross.... What a stupid stupid idea.
John February 07, 2014 at 04:29 PM
Yo know what's bad is they re so darn predictable. I called it when I first heard they were tearing down the prison. Norcross and his county attorney Dem. friends all the way on this one. .Gonna be some nice county oversight jobs coming out of this so start looking at some beachfront homes fellas because your going to be able to afford ithem with the pensions I got coming your way. Make sure to thank Pal George. Oh and Steve, nice announcement , I knew George kept you around for a reason.
Mel Sharples February 07, 2014 at 04:31 PM
Meets all the criteria for a Baby Boomer "big idea": 1) Unimaginative - check! 2) Unworkable - check! 3) Backward-looking - check! 4) Track record of failure - check! 5) High pricetag - check! 6) Promise of 'trickle down' something that never has panned out - check! 7) MUCH more likely to cause the very problems it seeks to address / counteract - check, check and check!!! Golf clap! I'd have given slightly more praise for a tired, 80's era "Riverboat Casino" concept, but this is plenty awful as is.
Public Works Employee February 07, 2014 at 07:26 PM
If it didn't work in Atlantic City, Why does he think it would work in Brick city or Camden?
Collingswoodnative February 08, 2014 at 01:29 PM
Gawd what bad idea. What about a prison instead?
Bonnie L. Mason February 08, 2014 at 04:09 PM
Is this man out of his mind? Atlantic City is dying. People with common sense have no money to throw away. Only poor, foolish people will go lose their paychecks and that won't sustain a casino. High rollers will avoid such dangerous cities like the plague. When are we going to vote for people with some common sense?
Loretka February 08, 2014 at 04:12 PM
So how would a casino help the city of Camden? What is really needed is a Pied Piper to lead all the bad element out of the city, like maybe into the Delaware River.
Peg Schnyer February 09, 2014 at 08:24 AM
Senator, have spent any time outside of the Atlantic City casinos? Spent any time walking through the neighborhoods surrounding the AC casinos, before you offered up this idea as a way to help the city of Camden???????
Paul J. DiBartolo February 09, 2014 at 09:04 AM
Sweeney and Company have found a way to enrich friends and family with this scheme...that's the driver. It really is laughable but it is directly in line with King George's plan to move Camden resident's away from the waterfront to points south in Camden County and provide get-rich-schemes for friends and family. Given that GT has convinced Penn National to open an OTB site on the crumbling stretch of Blackwood-Clementon Rd known otherwise as Red-Light Alley, how will a casino in Camden affect plans to attract gamblers to GT?
agent itchy February 09, 2014 at 11:27 AM
so many negative comments: just wrap Camden in barbwire and be done with it. that's your answer? there are several gaming choices across the bridge with plans for more downtown and along the river. why not plan for a future which might see ferry service or a completed gondola which stalled a decade or so ago? why not add to Camden's waterfront which also features baseball, an aquarium and a very active concert venue. the battleship and wiggins park also add to the overall location. Cooper, Rutgers, Rowan and Lordes are all strong employers with a chance of igniting more investment, development and opportunities for more employment. i believe in an optimistic view of South Jersey, especially the Cinnaminson area, and i believe a prosperous Camden can only be good for the region.
Townie February 09, 2014 at 12:09 PM
Sweeney never saw a piece of land he wouldn't let his concrete union friends build upon. Thank God they built that empty parking deck in Woodbury....just down the street from the other empty deck in the middle of the empty town where wages and opportunity are leaving while taxes keep going up. NOTHING will make people go to Camden if it isn't safe. If you want to invest in Camden, you have to make it as safe as Haddonfield. If it's ever safe, the geographic benefits of the city combined with its relatively inexpensive cost of living will begin to bring back the town....slowly....with artists and startups that want the proximity to Philly business and culture (see Manayunk). You can't build relevance; you have to cultivate it.
Paul J. DiBartolo February 09, 2014 at 12:11 PM
And where do you relocate the poor and down-trodden of Camden, agent scratchy? The plan thus far has been to relocate them to Sicklerville. How many more will Sicklerville stand for and our schools be able to absorb? I must commend you, agent scratchy, over the use of a pseudonym to conceal your real identity. When someone does that, it always gives me such confidence in their veracity.
John February 09, 2014 at 12:11 PM
You had a very prosperous Camden with plenty of jobs but big unions , crime and high taxes to take care of the public unions ran them out.
Loretka February 09, 2014 at 02:22 PM
All of these things on the waterfront, mentioned by agent itchy, have done nothing to make Camden any safer or more desirable. It's a damn shame what has happened to Camden, slowly since the 1960's, piece by piece, one neighborhood at a time, until it is what it is. Having been a Camden native until the 1970's, I speak of personal experience.
Bonnie L. Mason February 10, 2014 at 08:12 AM
I don't know how widespread this knowledge is, but much of Camden's industrial sites are badly contaminated with chemicals and Camden would need a massive clean-up of toxic waste in order to tear down vacant factories and attempt to bring businesses back. The cost would be very high. It is a shame; I remember when Camden employed lots of people in the 60's.
Loretka February 10, 2014 at 03:14 PM
And I remember when most people who lived in Camden also worked in Camden - RCA, Campbell's Soup, Hollingshed, many sewing factories, many cigar factories, New York Shipyard, MacAndrews and Forbes paper and licorice factory, a leather factory, many law offices and physician's offices, etc. etc. etc.
Mel Sharples February 10, 2014 at 04:13 PM
Agent Itchy is right about this - the Waterfront is an asset and has several compelling places to visit. The problem - and the reason these sites have not helped the economy as much as they should - is that people run in and run out. There is nowhere to eat around those places. There is nowhere to hang out. Baltimore's inner harbor was every bit as bad as present day Camden back when they developed it. But the inner harbor plan called for walkable restaurants and retail, plus revitalizing / building residential housing in the immediate vicinity. Stop building one-stops, start building an actual city. And yeah, I know that sounds real simple but it isn't. But a casino isn't the answer.
John February 11, 2014 at 02:48 AM
Camdens waterfront offers a much nicer view then Philly and that's because Philly is Camden view. What you see in Cherry Hill with the Mall and the shopping , the car dealerships , the life centers is all something you should see on Camden water front. However, the greedy unions and the "you vote for me and I'll take care of you" politicians have done nothing but bury this city in pensions and other entitlements . The strategy of locating the Waste Water Treatment plant right at the 50 yard line of your waterfront is beyond me. I feel it is possible to lure a large firm of some type into Camden by offering some incentives such as a tax abatement or PILOT. No you wouldn't be getting the much needed taxes BUT long term with other complimentary businesses to follow you would at least have the promise of new housing or modern condominiums to share that waterfront . Other buisness would follow and you could begin building a new city with a white collar office park instead of a industrial park. That failed. The big roadblock in all of that is the outragis, out of control crime within the city. Where 72% of all black children are born out of wedlock. A city with a very high dropout rate and very low test scores. A city where people just don't want to go and that's why Cherry Hill has taken over ans Camden County's future. City. They want a casino , let em have it. .We'll look at it as a recycling plant where welfare money gets fed to a slot machine and the money will be recycled right back to the politicions. .
Mel Sharples February 11, 2014 at 07:35 AM
I would argue with the statement that the residents of Camden want a casino. We don't know that, and history tells us that the places these businesses go are usually not welcome by the local population - they were selected because political opposition was weak or non-existent. Look at Fishtown and Chinatown casino plans - there is a reason the pols didn't offer space in Fairmount or the heart of South Philly. Local opposition would have been organized and well-funded. Tax breaks aren't a magic bullet by any stretch, they haven't worked with the Aquarium and Campbell's. The key is to get the people working at those places to live in the city.
Bonnie L. Mason February 11, 2014 at 10:12 AM
The comment from John is interesting and I have to agree with him. Now, please tell me why the same good old boys are constantly re-elected? If the people truly want things to change for the better, we must boot out those who have been in office a long time and vote for someone else. This is true at all government levels; too many perks for Federal government congressmen, too many opportunities for deals at the local levels with unions, etc. No one in the Federal Gov't. should have free medical care; they should have to pay and put up with the same as we do; then they might enact something practical that benefits everyone. Let's return this government to what it is supposed to be; one by the people and for the people (all the people), by reading up on candidates and voting for the best person who truly wants to represent us regardless of party.

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