(Belleville) – Assemblyman Ralph R. Caputo (D-Essex) on Tuesday said the time is now to install video lottery terminals (VLTs) at the Meadowlands Race Track in East Rutherford.
Caputo, who also serves on the Regulatory Oversight and Gaming Committee, is the sponsor of two separate bills (A-2458 and A-2550) that would authorize the installation of the VLTs at the facility to be developed and operated by the NJ Sports and Exposition Authority under the umbrella of the New Jersey Lottery Commission, and with enforcement responsibilities assigned to the Division of Gaming Enforcement.
Revenue generated by the facility would be divided into thirds, with a third earmarked for a “Horse Racing Special Fund” to benefit New Jersey’s faltering horse racing industry, a third to be used to fund state aid for education and the remaining third going to general state expenses.
“I believe the creation of such a facility would reinvigorate New Jersey’s gaming industry, generate between $500 million to $700 million annually in recurring net revenue for the state and create 1,500 top 2,000 new jobs”, said Caputo. “During these cash-strapped times for New Jersey, this is a proposal that should be given careful consideration, and the sooner the better.”
Caputo pointed to the results of recent public opinion polls that showed strong support for installing the VLTs. A Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind poll showed 52 percent to 37 percent support.
Caputo emphasized that both of the bills he’s sponsored require that the question be put to the voters in a referendum at the next general election following enactment.
“It has never been my intention to force VLTs on the residents of New Jersey, but rather to let them decide for themselves,” he said.
Caputo said he’s always been supportive of Atlantic City casinos.
“But we must face the fact that gamblers are already being lured away from Atlantic City and out of the state completely to racinos and other new gaming venues in New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Delaware,” Caputo said. “We have a responsibility not only to protect Atlantic City casinos, but to also do all we can to support our entire gaming industry, to retain and expand the revenue it generates and, most importantly, to keep that revenue here in New Jersey.”
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