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NJ Senators Discuss Gambling, Hanson Commission Report

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
Jul/21/2010
New Jersey Gambling

Assembly Regulatory Oversight and Gaming Chairman John Burzichelli (D-Gloucester / Cumberland / Salem) released the following statement on Wednesday related to gambling in New Jersey:

     

"Everyone knows that Atlantic City and its success is vital to New Jersey's overall economy, so any attempt to ensure it's success is welcome, even if the administration decided unnecessarily to complete this report in a vacuum.

     "Like all reports such as this, the devil is hiding in the details.

     "Many recommendations appear to be a positive step toward promoting Atlantic City as a tourism and gaming mecca. I know many people would like to see video lottery terminals elsewhere in the state, but we must focus our efforts on ensuring Atlantic City's long-term stability.

     "Still, this report doesn't go far enough. Noticeably missing are a major focus on Internet gambling and smaller boutique casinos, both of which will quite obviously play key roles in the future of gaming, both in attracting new revenue, competing with other states and creating jobs.

     "I applaud the effort of those who worked on this report and am pleased they concluded the best thing for New Jersey in the competitive casino market is to keep the focus on Atlantic City. Time is of the essence, and I expect my committee and the gaming summit called by Speaker Oliver and Senate President Sweeney will thoroughly review the report and devise a legislative that will also include our own initiatives and hopefully be in place by mid-September. 

     "We also expect to announce further details on the gaming summit soon."

 

WHELAN STATEMENT ON TASK FORCE REPORT

ON GAMING, ENTERTAINMENT

 

Says Atlantic City Focus is Welcomed,

but More Details and Work Needed


     TRENTON – Senator Jim Whelan, D-Atlantic, Chair of the Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation Committee, and a former Atlantic City mayor, issued the following statement today regarding the New Jersey Gaming, Sports and Entertainment Advisory Commission Report:

     "Obviously, we need serious, system-wide changes to the way New Jersey manages and regulates gaming and entertainment, in Atlantic City and across the State. You don't have to look any further than the casinos' bottom line to see that the current system is failing the businesses, and it's failing the people of the State.

     "We are happy that the Governor has put a new focus on Atlantic City, but even after seeing the report, there are more questions than answers. Hopefully, moving forward through the Gaming Summit that Senate President Sweeny has proposed, we can get those answers.

     "Gaming deregulation, sports betting, Internet betting, lowering the 500-room requirement for casinos, and the completion of the Revel casino are all issues where details are lacking; these matters must be a part of the solution to revitalize Atlantic City."

'UNDERWHELMING AND INCOMPLETE' HANSON COMMISSION

REPORT UNDERSCORES NEED FOR GAMING SUMMIT

 

Senate Leaders Say Industry Needs

A Future, Not Just A Spit-Shine


     TRENTON – Senate leaders today welcomed the delayed release of the so-called Hanson Commission report, but said the final product is "underwhelming and incomplete" and its closed-door analysis fails to deal with the fundamental issues of competition that are hampering New Jersey's gaming industry.

     Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney said the report makes the need for next month's "gaming summit" of lawmakers and industry experts all the more vital and pressing.

     "Anyone who walks the Atlantic City Boardwalk for five minutes would come to the same conclusions that it took this commission six months of closed-door meetings to reach," said Sweeney (D-Gloucester / Cumberland / Salem). "Improving New Jersey's gaming and entertainment industry means more than just cleaning the streets and slapping on some paint. It means bringing new products into the market that will attract visitors and beat back the steady stream of new competitors. It means creating jobs and welcoming businesses. This report only goes half way."

     While the commission report outlined a series of changes to the way the state's gaming areas would look and operate, Sweeney said it failed to offer proposals that could actually grow the industry, attract new investment and restore the state's reputation as the East Coast's preeminent gaming destination. He added that next month's planned gaming summit would use the Hanson report as a baseline for discussions, but would also deal with the more detailed economic and market-based issues the gaming industry needs to confront in creating a vision for long-term viability.

     Majority Leader Barbara Buono said the most telling difference between the Hanson Commission and the gaming summit will be the legislative endeavor's focus on transparency. In the five months since the commission was created by executive order, it has only met privately. Buono said that makes it possible that certain elements were working out of a desire for self-preservation instead of revitalizing the entire industry.

     "The future of our entertainment and gaming complex deserves better than just a few closed-door sessions and a press conference," said Buono (D-Middlesex). "These issues deserve a public hearing. We need to know who is pushing for what so we can ensure that we act out of the need to promote the industry as a whole, and not just one sector or one company. Given the lack of transparency in the Hanson Commission, it could have just as easily been called 'Reform Atlantic City Now."

     Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee Chairman Paul Sarlo, who Sweeney has asked to sit on the gaming summit, said the industry deserved a more far-sighted report given the hundreds of millions of dollars in revenues it provides for essential state programs for the elderly.

     "This half-hearted, half-finished report makes the need for the gaming summit more clear than ever," said Sarlo (D-Bergen). "The commission really fell short of looking at anything other than regulations and real estate. We need to consider the proposals offered by the commission but must inject the real revolutionary ideas that it is missing and which will allow New Jersey to compete for years to come."

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