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War Of Words Continues In NJ

Published: February 18, 2010 2:56 pm ET

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The back and forth war of words regarding the possible implementation of video lottery terminals at New Jersey racetracks took its latest twist yesterday when Stephen Sweeney, president of the New Jersey Senate, challenged governor Chris Christie by telling an Atlantic City Chamber of Commerce meeting that there would be no slots at the Meadowlands or other New Jersey tracks.

Sweeney told a cheering audience that he would not permit a vote on any bill allowing VLTs anywhere in the state but Atlantic City.

“I can tell you,” he said, “I’m not posting a VLT bill for anywhere outside of Atlantic City.”

Christie has appointed a new seven-member panel to review the state’s gambling, sports and entertainment interests and make policy recommendations by June 30, and has not ruled out slots at tracks.

Sweeney, however, told his partisan audience, “the governor threatening VLTs, he has to deal with me on that, and I’ve already told you, it ain’t happening.”

Sweeney also invoked the media description of racing as “a dying industry” that should not be subsidized by Atlantic City casinos.

All 11 Atlantic City casinos reported losses in November, 2009, as casino win dropped 13.4%, slot revenue fell 9.5%, and table games were down 21%.

(With files from Harness Tracks of America)

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