New Jersey leaders meet at gaming summit in Atlantic City
By Kyle Maichle
The focus of the summit was to review a proposal introduced by Governor Chris Christie on July 21, 2010, to have the state take over the Atlantic City Gaming District. Despite the summit was aimed to gather ideas to save the gaming industry, tensions were evident from interests representing the Northern and Southern regions of the state.
Senator Paul Sarlo (D-Bergen County) criticized Governor Christie's plan to privatize horse racing and to not expanding gambling in Northern New Jersey. Senator Sarlo said: "instead of new casinos in other states, why not a new world-class casino in the shadow of New York?" The Senator's criticism was met with objection from a casino industry representative. Mark Juliano from Trump Entertainment Resorts said that to expand gambling beyond South Jersey would be: "putting a bullet right through Atlantic City." Juliano also said he supported the Governor's plan to take over Atlantic City during the summit.
Senator Raymond Lesniak (D-Union), who also attended the summit, urged the Legislature to reconsider sports betting as a way to increase revenue. The Senator also criticized Atlantic City casino companies that have properties in Nevada for blocking the sports betting amendment. Lesniak said that some casino companies do not want to have competition in the sports betting market.
The Atlantic City summit is the first of a series of summits across the state planned by Democratic lawmakers.