Mazzeo & Burzichelli Bill to Facilitate Atlantic City Simulcasting Signed Into Law

Casinos May Now Negotiate Rates, Retain Simulcasting of Out-of-State Races

A bill Assemblymen Vince Mazzeo and John Burzichelli sponsored to permit casinos to negotiate the price of broadcasting horse races and retain simulcasting at their facilities is now law.

“As we work to turn Atlantic City into a resort destination, it’s critical that we do everything possible to maximize entertainment and gambling opportunities for customers,” said Mazzeo (D-Atlantic). “With the biggest race of the year coming up next weekend in the Kentucky Derby, this measure represents a reasonable fix to a major issue for the Borgata, the state’s only remaining casino horseracing simulcast facility, and will help Atlantic City continue providing services to those who enjoy watching and betting on races in New Jersey.”

The law (A-3972/S-2626) allows casinos and out-of-state racetracks to negotiate how much casinos pay to simulcast horse races. Under the “Casino Simulcasting Act,” the rate a casino could pay at a fixed percentage of the amount wagered on each race was capped.

Without the capacity to pay a higher rate if simulcast fees increased, a casino ran the risk of being shut out of providing the service for its customers, said Mazzeo. The new law paves 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 law 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.

Previous law generally limited the amount that an Atlantic City casino could 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. The new law allows 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.