NJ Gaming Summit Announced

Published: July 12, 2010 02:57 pm EDT

The Democratic leadership in the New Jersey legislature has announced that a gaming summit will be held next month “to craft solutions for ensuring the longterm viability of New Jersey’s struggling gaming and entertainment


A report on newjerseynewsroom.com stated that it is hoped that legislation might be passed by the end of the year, and the headline on the story read, “As N.J. casinos, racetracks struggle financially, legislators announce ‘gaming summit.’”

State Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney announced the summit, saying, “Our casinos and race tracks are...major economic drivers that cannot be allowed to flounder....New Jersey’s gaming industry -- whether it be casinos or racetracks -- is the lifeblood of many programs that are vital to our statewide economy through the jobs and economic development it creates.”

The article indicates that Senator Jim Whelan, a former mayor of Atlantic City, will be co-chair of the session.

(With files from Harness Tracks of America)



It sounds nice and it would lead you to think the Senate President has a change in tune when he says "Our casinos and race tracks are...major economic drivers"; it sounds like Sweeney sees the importance of horse racing. However:

Senator Jim Whelan (former mayor of Atlantic City) and Assemblyman John Burzichelli (D-Gloucester) will chair the summit. If truly looking out for the interests of racing and casinos, wouldn't one of the chairs be a pro-racing official or at least someone from North Jersey who has an interest in the Meadowlands to survive?

Co-chair burzichelli was quoted in the Courier Post as aying "After 32 years of casino gambling (in Atlantic City), it's time to take a fresh look." The article goes on toe say he predicted the summit would focus on the current impact of casino regulations and the potential role of Internet gambling. No mention of horse racing, is there?

Sweeney indicated the summit would concentrate on things which can be implemented this year, so VLTs; something he has said will never come to a vote in the Senate is off the table.

Let's see where this summit will be held. Will it be held at a neutral site such as Trenton, or will it be held in Atlantic City where it will be easy for the casino supporters to flood the public comment session? If held in Atlantic City, any facade of fairness that exists (if any does, will be gone.

Racing is definitely going to play second fiddle here. If anything comes out of it, it will be legalizing exchange wagering. There will be no VLTs and it will be highly unlikely there will be any purse subsidy out of this.

Beware of wolves in sheep clothing.