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Officials Unveil Plans For New Hard Rock Casino At Meadowlands

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) -- Hard Rock International and the Meadowlands Racetrack unveiled plans Wednesday for a new casino just outside New York City.

A New Jersey Music Hall of Fame, 5,000 slot machines, 200 gaming tables, at least 10 restaurants and four bars are all part of the plans for the new facility, which would be named the Hard Rock Casino Meadowlands.

It features a huge entertainment dome, colorful outdoor lighting and the iconic Hard Rock guitar, WCBS 880's Levon Putney reported.

"It's a beacon in the night," Hard Rock CEO Jim Allen said.

Officials Unveil Plans For New Hard Rock Casino At Meadowlands

Casino officials said the project would bring more than 10,000 jobs to the area and generate more than $400 million in yearly revenue -- some of which would go toward helping the struggling Atlantic City, CBS2's Andrea Grymes reported.

"It would be good for everybody; it would create jobs, not only in the casino industry, it would help Atlantic City recover and it would have an extra couple hundred million dollars, hopefully," Jeff Gural, owner of Meadowlands Racetrack, told Grymes before the unveiling.

Experts say the casino could be one of the most successful in the country, but Atlantic City fears it could put it out of business.

Officials Unveil Plans For New Hard Rock Casino At Meadowlands

Atlantic City has opposed every attempt to even consider legislation expanding casino gambling beyond its borders. Last year four of the city's 12 casinos shut down, and gambling revenue has been falling steadily for eight years, even without in-state competition.

With its proximity to Newark International Airport, casino officials would like to make the casino an international destination, 1010 WINS' Rebecca Granet reported.

Allen said the new casino could be open by summer or early fall 2016.

"We will bring all of our resources that no one in the world can match to create this iconic destination," Allen said.

But first, the New Jersey Constitution would need to be amended to allow it. Currently, the law only allows casinos in Atlantic City.

Lawmakers are trying to get a referendum on the November ballot to allow up to three casinos in northern New Jersey, CBS2's Christine Sloan reported.

Lawmakers have until August to put the issue before voters in November.

"We will work together with our colleagues to make sure that this moves ahead," said state Sen. Loretta Weinberg, (D)-Bergen County.

Many who live near the Meadowlands said they have big concerns.

"Traffic, a gambling element that isn't suitable for this area," one resident told Grymes.

"We get nothing out of it and it's too crowded here anyway," another resident said.

Still, others believe a casino would be a big boost to East Rutherford and surrounding communities.

'I think it's gonna be good for business and it's gonna bring more people to the area," resident Catherine Spinella said.

"I think it'll bring jobs to northern Jersey, which will hopefully alleviate some of the tax burden," another resident said.

To encourage the passage of the state constitutional amendment, Gural has agreed to pay a 55 percent tax rate.

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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