ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) -- About 12 percent of New Jersey gamblers would take their business to one or more of the four new casinos being built in New York, according to a new poll.
A Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind poll released on Monday finds 57 percent of New Jerseyans would stick with Atlantic City as their destination of choice. But the 12 percent who would switch to a New York casino would still badly hurt the struggling Atlantic City casino market. The remaining poll respondents did not know if they would gamble in New York or did not answer the question.
``Atlantic City casinos have to be happy that they're not facing wholesale defection,'' said Dan Cassino, a political scientist at Fairleigh Dickinson and an analyst for the poll. ``But even the loss of 12 percent of their customers, on top of what they've already lost, could be devastating.''
Since 2006, Atlantic City's casino revenue has plunged from a high of $5.2 billion to $2.86 billion last year. It has been beset by competition from Pennsylvania, which has surpassed it as the nation's No. 2 casino market after Nevada, and suffered further losses with additional casinos coming online in New York and Maryland.
Kevin Ortzman, president of Caesars, Bally's and the Showboat casinos, as well as of the Casino Association of New Jersey, said the poll shows Atlantic City still has strong support.
``The results of this poll underscore that our visitors return to Atlantic City time and again because it remains the heart of gaming, world-class entertainment and many great experiences in New Jersey and the entire region,'' Ortzman said. ``I believe as we continue to diversify with non-gaming amenities and experiences, we'll not only retain the customer base, but grow through the new and exciting offerings and experiences Atlantic City will offer.''
After 57 percent of voters in the Empire State approved a referendum on expanded casino gambling last November, New York officials began planning for four resort-style casinos. The state agreed not to locate another casino inside New York City for at least seven years.
New York currently has five Indian-run casinos, and nine slot machine parlors at racetracks.
Bidders include Caesar's Entertainment, which wants to open a $750 million casino 50 miles north of Manhattan; the company owns four of Atlantic City's 11 casinos. The Genting Group, a Malaysian firm that runs Resorts World in Queens, New York, wants to open a casino resort in Tuxedo, New York, just 42 miles from Times Square. Currently, the closest casinos with table games are in Pennsylvania, about two hours outside of New York City.
``The proposals for the new casinos come from heavy hitters, and they want to open as near to New York City as the state will let them,'' said Cassino. ``They're expecting a return on their investments, and they're going to be very aggressive about taking the New York customers away from Atlantic City.''
The telephone poll of 907 New Jersey adults was conducted from May 27 to June 1 and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.3 percentage points.
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