Existing Transportation and Cultural Infrastructure
Make Newark the “Newest Destination City”

Newark, NJ – Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. and Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka joined together to promote Essex County and the City of Newark as the ideal location for a casino in North Jersey. Newark is being promoted as a location for a casino because of its strategic position as a transportation hub, its burgeoning economic development, and its increasing role as America’s “Newest Destination City” for arts, culture, entertainment, health care and business.

“Newark already has the infrastructure, both in terms of transportation and cultural institutions, that will help make a casino in North Jersey attractive to visitors,” DiVincenzo said. “The City is easy to get to because of its accessibility from multiple highways, railway lines, Newark Liberty International Airport and Penn Station. Once here, visitors will be able to enhance their gaming experience with the world-class entertainment provide at venues like the Prudential Center, NJPAC, Newark Museum and Symphony Hall,” he added.

“I am pleased to join with Mayor Baraka and other members of our Essex delegation to promote Newark as the destination city in New Jersey,” DiVincenzo said.

“Casinos are coming to North Jersey and if Newark doesn’t get it, another city will and they will net the benefits. The casino itself is just a portion of our overall economic development plan and this means permanent jobs for the citizens of our City. All combined, this development could bring more than 4,000 permanent jobs to our City,” Baraka said. “Just look at Newark’s profile: we are a major transportation hub, home to major colleges and universities and our culturally diverse population speaks to the rich fabric of our nation. Newark is poised to be America’s next Destination City, one which we can all believe in,” he added.

Other elected officials also touted Newark as the prime location for a casino and urged voters to support the ballot question to allow casinos in Northern New Jersey.

“This is what New Jersey needs now and there will be provisions to help South Jersey,” Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto said. “Think of all the construction jobs and the permanent jobs that will be created,” he added.

“People in New Jersey are traveling to Pennsylvania and New York. This is about keeping New Jersey’s tax money in New Jersey,” NJ State Senator and Essex County Deputy Chief of Staff Teresa Ruiz said. “People may ask ‘Why Newark?” I say because it’s the best place,” added Ruiz, mentioning the existing transportation infrastructure, arts institutions and existing attractions.

“No one should stand in the way of giving people an opportunity to vote on this, whether the question is on the ballot this November or next year,” Assemblyman Ralph Caputo said. “I am enthused by the support I see here today. This project will bring a significant economic impact to Newark,” he added.

“Newark is the perfect location for a casino, convention center and hotel. These are facilities that will put people back to work,” Freeholder President Britnee Timberlake said.

“We are confronted every day with a variety of issues and we are always looking for solutions. Having a casino here is one of those solutions,” Newark City Council President Mildred Crump said. “We need to adopt this idea as something that will be good for the City of Newark,” she added.

In recent years, Newark has seen the opening of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, the Prudential Center, two major hotels in its downtown, the renovation of Military Park and the construction of a new skyscraper for Prudential. The City has also welcomed new businesses, including Panasonic USA’s national headquarters, Audible.Com, Manischewitz and Wakefern. In addition, construction has begun on a downtown luxury apartment building spearheaded by Newark native and NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal and renovation is underway of the historical Hahne’s building for a Whole Foods Supermarket and mixed-income housing.

Newark already can lay claim to being one of New Jersey’s most traveled to destinations. Newark Liberty International Airport welcomed 35.6 million passengers in 2014 and its 22 airline carriers travel to 160 destinations. The busiest stop on the PATH, which links Newark and Hoboken in New Jersey to the World Trade Center and 33rd Street in New York, is Penn Station in Newark, which saw 8.08 million riders in 2014. Penn Station also welcomes Amtrak trains; the 677,175 Amtrak riders coming through Newark make Penn Station the busiest station in Newark and the 14th busiest in Amtrak’s national system.  The Newark Light Rail boasts 5.3 million riders a year and the NJ Transit trains along the Northeast Corridor Line, North Jersey Coast Line and Raritan Valley Line make Penn Station the busiest NJ Transit rail stop in the state. The city also is accessible by multiple highways – Interstate 78, State Highways 1, 9, 21 and 22 – and numerous NJ Transit bus routes.

Already existing in Newark are successful entertainment venues. The NJ Devils take to the ice at the Prudential Center and world-class performers take to the stage at NJPAC and Newark Symphony Hall. Adding a casino to Newark’s skyline will benefit local tourism and stimulate employment opportunities and business growth.

Smaller, regionalized casinos have become successful and popular destinations in Pennsylvania, New York, Delaware and Maryland. DiVincenzo believes casino development in Newark would stimulate economic development, attract new businesses, create construction jobs and permanent casino jobs, and generate a new stream of recurring revenue for the State, County and City in terms of sales tax and property tax. The project will provide jobs for Newark residents during and after construction and create additional business opportunities after completion.

Anthony Puglisi
Lauren Shears