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(TRENTON) — Assemblyman Ralph Caputo on Monday announced he and several other Assembly Democrats have introduced legislation that would seek voter approval to place video lottery terminals at the Meadowlands horse racing track.

“Let’s face it — times have changed and so must we if Meadowlands racing and gaming are going to continue to be a strong part of New Jersey’s economy,” said Caputo (D-Essex). “We cannot stand idle and pretend expanded competition at nearby horse tracks in New York doesn’t exist. It’s there, and unless we move forward, we will forever lose those customers, the immense revenue potential and the horse racing industry itself.”

The bill (A-2458) would ask voters to approve video lottery terminals at a referendum held during a November general election. A video lottery terminal is an electronic game of chance similar to a video slot machine. Under the bill, if voters approve, the State Lottery Commission would be authorized to install the machines at the Meadowlands race track, with the operation developed by the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority and overseen by the Division of Gaming Enforcement.

A portion of the revenue earned by the machines would be placed into a newly created Horse Racing Special Fund that would benefit the state’s horse racing industry.

“This is a sensible way to keep gaming and horse racing more viable in New Jersey while helping cut the horse racing’s reliance on state subsidies,” Caputo said. “I know many have strong opinions on the idea of bringing gaming to the Meadowlands, but I hope this can at least be the start of a in-depth discussion on the matter.”

The bill is also sponsored by Assembly members Fred Scalera and Gary Schaer (both D-Bergen/Essex/Passaic), Elease Evans (D-Passaic/Bergen) and Ruben J. Ramos Jr. (D-Hudson).

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