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Whelan And Christie To Square Off?

Published: February 10, 2010 12:00 pm ET

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According to a report, New Jersey senator Jim Whelan, who is also the chairman of the Senate Committee on State Government, Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation, has sent a blunt letter to governor Chris Christie indicating that he will refuse to hear any recommendation that brings casino-type gaming to the Meadowlands or other racetracks should it come before his committee.

An article by states that Whelan has indicated he also has the support of state senate president Stephen Sweeney.

"The governor comes across as a direct, blunt guy, and I decided to send a very direct, blunt letter so we're not equivocating or leaving the door ajar," the report quotes Whelan as saying. The article explains that Whelan's committee reviews legislation on wagering issues concerning the Atlantic City casinos, horse racing and video-lottery terminals, or VLTs.

Later in the article, Barbara DeMarco, a lobbyist with the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association explained that expanded New Jersey gaming outside of Atlantic City would create gaming options for "convenience gamers" that no longer come to New Jersey.

"I would hope that senator Whelan would keep an open mind and not look at this through a parochial lens," she was quoted as saying, "but in the best interest of the state, at a time when the budget deficit for next year is said to be $10 billion."

(With files from

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