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Mazzeo & Burzichelli Bill to Facilitate A.C. Simulcasting Gains Final Legislative Approval

Bill Would Allow Casinos to Negotiate Rates, Retain Simulcasting of Out-of-State Races

Legislation Assemblymen Vince Mazzeo and John Burzichelli sponsored to permit casinos to negotiate the price of broadcasting horse races and retain simulcasting at their facilities was approved unanimously Thursday in the Assembly. The measure now heads to the governor’s desk.

“As we work to restore a wounded Atlantic City, it’s critical that we do everything possible to maximize gambling opportunities for customers,” said Mazzeo (D-Atlantic). “This legislation, a reasonable fix to a major issue for casino simulcasting providers, will help Atlantic City continue providing services to those who enjoy watching and betting on races in our casinos.”

The bill (A-3972) would allow casinos and out-of-state racetracks to negotiate how much casinos pay to simulcast horse races. Currently, the “Casino Simulcasting Act” caps the rate a casino may pay at a fixed percentage of the amount wagered on each race.

Without the capacity to pay a higher rate if simulcast fees increase, a casino runs the risk of being unable to provide the service for its customers, said Mazzeo. The legislation will pave the way for more casinos to carry simulcasts at their facilities, he said.

“Simulcast players have been able to watch races at the casino for more than 20 years, but recent trouble in the industry has made it harder for them to find in-state facilities that allow them to continue that hobby,” said Burzichelli (D-Cumberland/Gloucester/Salem). “Gaming is a major element of the South Jersey economy, and this legislation will allow negotiation so that our state can remain competitive in this area for the benefit of simulcast parlor customers and employees alike.”

Simulcasting allows horse race wagering at two or more sites concurrently. Such a broadcast often involves the transmission of wagering information to a central site, allowing all participants to bet in the same pool.

Current law generally limits the amount that an Atlantic City casino may pay an out-of-state racetrack for the transmission of a simulcast horse race to a maximum of 6 percent of the pari-mutuel pool on each race. This bill would allow a casino and an out-of-state racetrack to negotiate on a higher percentage if necessary so that the casino may retain the right to transmit a simulcast.

The bill earlier this month received unanimous approval from the Senate.