ASSEMBLY DEM BILLS TO ALLOW INTERNET WAGERING, CREATE ATLANTIC CITY TOURISM DISTRICT & BOOST RACEHORSE BREEDING IN NJ ADVANCE

Burzichelli, Caputo & Quijano Bills Part of Ongoing Effort to Boost Gaming

Legislation Assembly Democrats John Burzichelli, Ralph Caputo and Annette Quijano sponsored as part of the ongoing effort to enhance New Jersey’s gaming industries was advanced Thursday by an Assembly panel.

The bills would:

· Enable New Jersey residents to place wagers on Atlantic City casino games via the Internet. (A-2570). Approved by a vote of 7-0-4.

· Establish a special dedicated fund in the Department of Law and Public Safety to provide enhanced incentives for the breeding and development of racehorses in the state. (A-3531). Approved by a vote of 8-0-3.

· Establish the Atlantic City Tourism District, broaden the powers and duties of Casino Reinvestment Development Authority and transfer the Atlantic City Convention and Visitors Authority and its functions to the CRDA (A-3581). Approved by a vote of 11-0.

“These measures represent yet another step forward in ensuring a strong Atlantic City, a healthy horse racing industry and a modern gaming industry for New Jersey,” Burzichelli said. “We have more work to do, but these overall efforts should position these industries as strong economic drivers for our state for years to come.”

The Internet wagering bill sponsored by Burzichelli and Quijano would allow all games, including poker, that are played at a casino to be offered through Internet wagering.

“Clearly our casinos need to keep up with the times if they’re to be successful economic engines for our state for years to come,” said Burzichelli (D-Gloucester/Cumberland/Salem), who has sponsored numerous bills to boost New Jersey’s gaming industry. “We need to ensure casinos keep pace with the technology and competition, so in that regard this bill makes sense. Casinos, just like all other industries, operate in the global marketplace, and in this day and age that includes the Internet.”

“Any viable business takes advantage of the expanded consumer base offered by the Internet, and casinos should be no different,” said Quijano (D-Union). “Our casinos, if they’re to remain strong, need to keep pace with technology and the competition if they’re to continue creating jobs and growing our economy. This bill ensures that will happen when it comes to Internet gaming that’s bound to become more prevalent.”

Under the bill, all equipment used by a licensee to conduct Internet wagering, including but not limited to computers, servers, monitoring rooms and hubs, must be located either in a restricted area on the premises of the casino hotel or in a secure facility inaccessible to the public but within the territorial limits of Atlantic City.

All Internet wagers would be deemed to be placed when received in Atlantic City by the licensee regardless of the player’s physical location within this state. Any intermediate routing of electronic data in connection with a wager would not affect the fact that the wager is placed in Atlantic City.

The bill would impose an annual tax on Internet wagering gross revenues in the amount of 8 percent of such gross revenues which will be paid into the casino revenue fund, with the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority annually appropriating a percentage of the amount of that tax generated to the New Jersey Racing Commission to be used for the benefit of the horse racing, including but not limited to the augmentation of purses.

The other bill sponsored by Burzichelli would establish a special dedicated fund in the Department of Law and Public Safety from which awards may be made to provide enhanced incentives for the breeding and development of racehorses in this state.

Specifically, the bill provides for the establishment of a special non-lapsing fund to be known as the New Jersey Standardbred and Thoroughbred Racehorse Incentive Fund within the Department of Law and Public Safety. Under the bill, the fund is required to be maintained and administered by the New Jersey Racing Commission, and any monies deposited into the fund, together with any interest, are required to be awarded, beginning on or before April 1, 2012 and on or before that date each year thereafter, by the commission to provide enhanced incentives for the breeding and development of thoroughbred and standardbred racehorses in this state.

“A strong horse racing industry will follow a strong breeding program,” Burzichelli said. “New Jersey is already one of the leading horse breeding states in the nation, but a fund like this will only help ensure a stronger industry moving forward. That will create jobs and economic growth that will benefit everyone.”

The final bill (A-3581) would establish the Atlantic City Tourism District, broaden the powers and duties of Casino Reinvestment Development Authority and transfer the Atlantic City Convention and Visitors Authority and its functions to the CRDA.

“This is an effort to try something new to ensure a friendly, clean and safe casino district that will feature smart redevelopment and in and of itself promote Atlantic City and its offerings,” said Caputo (D-Essex), who is also sponsoring legislation (AJR-65) to explore bringing gaming to Bergen County. “I continue to insist that northern New Jersey be included in discussion about the future of gaming in our state, but I also am a big proponent of a strong Atlantic City and the benefits it brings to our economy.”

The tourism district would be an area in which the CRDA would have authority to impose land use regulations, implement a tourism district master plan promoting cleanliness, commercial development and safety, undertake redevelopment projects and institute public safety infrastructure improvements.

The tourism district would encompass the casinos, casino hotels, the area encompassing the Atlantic City Special Improvement District, any property under the ownership or control of the CRDA, any property under the ownership or control of the Atlantic City Convention and Visitors Authority, property within Atlantic City that is under the ownership or control of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority prior to the transfer of the ACCVA to the CRDA, any part of the property consisting of the Atlantic City convention center project, including the Atlantic City Convention Center and Boardwalk Hall, and any specified parts of Atlantic City which the CRDA finds by resolution to be an area in which the majority of entities are engaged primarily in the tourism trade.

Under the bill, the CRDA is given extensive powers to redevelop and manage the tourism district.