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Threat of New York Casinos & Continued Revenue Decline in Atlantic City Casinos Make the Case to Revisit Creation of Racetrack Slots

(28TH DISTRICT) — Assemblyman Ralph R. Caputo renewed his call for creating video lottery terminals (VLTs) at the Meadowlands Racetrack Monday, amid publication of continued worsening revenue figures from Atlantic City casinos and reports that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is seriously considering opening commercial casinos in that state.

“We can no longer afford to keep our heads in the sand and pretend that we do not have direct competition to our Atlantic City casinos in Pennsylvania, Connecticut and New York,” said Caputo (D-Essex), a member of the Assembly Regulatory Oversight and Gaming Committee. “Atlantic City’s every shrinking revenues are proof of that. And now that New York is seriously considering opening its own casinos, we must act or risk New Jersey becoming a gambling afterthought.”

A report released Wednesday by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement showed revenues at Atlantic City casinos fell by 6.5 percent in July, the 35th month in a row that revenues have been down in the nation’s second-largest gambling market.

The same day, an article in the New York Post revealed that New York Gov. Cuomo is seriously considering opening commercial casinos in New York, a move that, according to Caputo, would siphon off even more potential gamblers in North Jersey, who would rather take a short trip to New York than the hours long trek to Atlantic City.

Caputo said VLTs at the Meadowlands could generate between $500 million to $700 million annually in recurring net revenue for the state and create 1,500 to 2,000 new jobs, keeping gambling revenues from escaping the state into New York and Pennsylvania and providing additional funding sources for a variety of services that have faced the budget axe in recent years.

“Racinos may not be the whole answer, but they should definitely be part of the larger solution to recapturing some of New Jersey’s lost gambling revenue,” said Caputo. “Continuing to willfully reject the benefits they could provide will only serve to extend New Jersey’s losing streak.”