ASSEMBLY DEMOCRATIC BILL PACKAGE TO BOOST GAMING AND HORSE RACING ADVANCED BY PANEL

Burzichelli, Riley, Albano, Milam, Caputo, Wagner & McKeon Bills Aim to Help Key NJ Industries

A wide-ranging Assembly Democratic legislative package to enhance New Jersey’s casino gaming and horse racing industries by among other things allowing Internet gambling, moving toward sports gaming at casinos and racetracks, modernizing regulations and promoting in-state racehorse breeding was cleared by an Assembly committee on Thursday.

The 10-bill package builds on previous Assembly Democratic efforts to help the key industries, including bills to allow smaller casinos, authorize exchange wagering on horse races and improve this year’s racing meet at Monmouth Park.

“The casino and horse racing industries are two backbones of New Jersey,” said Assemblyman John Burzichelli, who chairs the Assembly Regulatory and Oversight Committee that released the bills. “They create jobs and spark economic development in many, many ways, and we must ensure they remain strong and competitive economic engines for generations to come. These bills all aim to accomplish that goal on many fronts.”

The bills are variously sponsored by Burzichelli and Celeste Riley (both D-Gloucester/Salem/Cumberland), Nelson Albano and Matthew Milam (both D-Atlantic/Cape May/Cumberland), Connie Wagner (D-Bergen), Ralph Caputo (D-Essex) and John McKeon (D-Essex).

The bills would:

· Propose a constitutional amendment authorizing the Legislature by law to allow wagering at Atlantic City casinos and at horse racetracks on sports events (ACR-167). Sponsored by Milam, Albano, Caputo and Wagner.

“We need to ensure Atlantic City stays on the cutting edge and has a competitive advantage against the new wave of gambling offerings in other states,” Milam said. “We can’t rest idly while other states increase their offerings. We need to do better.”

“A strong Atlantic City and horse industry means a strong New Jersey,” Albano said. “This is a comprehensive effort to ensure our gaming industries remain strong economic drivers for our state for years to come.”

“With the growth of out-of-state competition, we should try to correct the mistake New Jersey made 17 years ago when it failed to legalize sports gaming,” Caputo said. “If we’re to remain the East Coast’s premier gaming destination. we need to make sure our racetracks and casinos are offering the best attractions, and that means adding sports gaming. We have more to do, but this is a great start.”

· Establish the “Casino Gaming Study Commission,” consisting of 13 public members, to evaluate the impact of all casino industry legislation and reforms enacted since the beginning of calendar year 2010, as well as recently enacted casino gaming statutory revisions, regulatory reforms and technological reforms and explore the future prospects for casino expansion to Bergen County (AJR-65). Sponsored by Speaker Sheila Oliver, Burzichelli and Caputo.

“Sports betting already exists in New Jersey, but only the criminals are enjoying the profits,” Wagner said. “Sports fans put billions of dollars on the line every year, regardless of its legality. A legal Atlantic City and race track-based sports book would ensure bettors are not fleeced or put in harm’s way.”

· Enable New Jersey residents to place wagers on Atlantic City casino games via the Internet (A-2570). Sponsored by Burzichelli.

· Prohibit the Motor Vehicle Commission from inspecting buses on casino-owned property and designated casino parking, pick-up, or drop-off locations (A-2845). Sponsored by Burzichelli, Milam, Albano and Riley.

“New Jersey needs strong and modern gaming and horse racing industries that will benefit everyone through sustained job creation and economic development,” Riley said. “We’ve always offered premiere gaming and racing industries, and with these bills we are making sure that doesn’t change.”

· Permit racetrack permit holders to provide for a single pari-mutuel pool for each running or harness horse race (A-3200). Sponsored by McKeon and Wagner.

“We can never rest easy when it comes to ensuring our horse racing industry can succeed, but this is an aggressive start toward modernizing it and positioning it to succeed,” McKeon said. “A strong horse racing industry will mean so much to New Jersey’s future.”

· Authorize Internet account wagering for residents outside New Jersey on in-state horse races (A-3498). Sponsored by Burzichelli.

· Improve and modernize casino industry regulation. Under the bill, various regulatory matters currently with the Casino Control Commission would become the responsibility of the Division of Gaming Enforcement in the Department of Law and Public Safety (A-3517). Sponsored by Burzichelli.

· Establish a special dedicated fund in the Department of Law and Public Safety to provide incentives for the breeding and development of certain racehorses in this state (A-3531). Sponsored by Burzichelli.

· Allow casinos and out-of-state racetracks to negotiate the amount casinos will pay for simulcast races (A-3580). Sponsored by Burzichelli.

· Establish the Atlantic City Tourism District, broaden 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). Sponsored by Burzichelli.