Powerful Backers of Gambling in North Jersey Decide to Fold Their Hand

The prospect of expanding gaming to New Jersey’s northern reaches took a huge hit yesterday, with one of the major supporters of this year’s ballot referendum announcing its decision to pull back on an expensive ad campaign.

Our Turn NJ, the group behind a 30-second TV commercial airing across the state and espousing the benefits that may follow an expansion of gambling from a beleaguered Atlantic City into a densely populated North Jersey, said it would suspend the campaign in a press release on Thursday. It cited less-than-hopeful data about the November referendum’s fate. Recent polls — including the group’s own internal polling, it said — show supporters aren’t behind the idea, which calls for the construction of a casino in two northern locations.

In a joint statement, Paul Fireman and Jeff Gural, the two men who launched the group in hopes that it might sway public opinion on the issue, said the current political climate and a lack of detail about the proposed expansion “have proved overwhelming.” They referenced a poll that found voters have a “very negative outlook” on the move north and “extremely low confidence that the revenue promised in the Casino Expansion Amendment will be delivered as it is promised.”

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