New Jersey lawmakers call for gambling summit before qualifying casino referendums
By Kyle Maichle
TRENTON, New Jersey: As lawmakers are on the cusp of approving referendums for the November ballot over expanding gambling in the State of New Jersey, a summit to deal with the gaming industry's challenges was called on June 17, 2010 by legislative Democrats.
The purpose of the summit is to reconcile competing proposals of the sports betting and internet gambling amendments. This has come despite the Casino Association of New Jersey has strongly expressed its opposition to both of proposed amendments on the November ballot. However, there has been strong support by horse racing track operators who want a piece of the new revenues that would come from sports betting and internet gambling in addition to allowing slot machines at horse tracks.
Senator Raymond Lesniak (D-Union) said: "right now, all the interests are at each other's throats while their respective industries are dying a slow death...they don't realize, or don't want to realize, they're killing each other." State Senator Jim Whelan (D-Atlantic) said: "Atlantic City has been battered by the twin winds of aggressive out of state competition and the recent global recession." The State Senator from the Atlantic City said: "we need to inject new life into the resort and reassert its predominance on the East Coast's gaming landscape."
Since casinos have expanded into Pennsylvania and New York State, the gaming industry in New Jersey has lost money to competing interests in neighboring states. The legislative summit comes against a competing advisory committee that Governor Chris Christie formed to help find ways to improve the gaming industry in the Garden State. The report from the Governor's advisory committee is expected to be published on June 30, 2010. No date for a legislative summit has been set.