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Assemblyman: NJ Must Go “All-In” With Gaming Options [AUDIO]

Spencer Platt, Getty Images

While surrounding states are going all in with the gambling options New Jersey keeps folding.

One Garden State lawmaker wants to ask voters if they’d like to change the state constitution to help put the odds in New Jersey’s favor.

Last week, traffic was snarled as thousands of people rushed to New York’s newest gaming ‘racino’ at Aqueduct Racetrack. Several key legislative leaders in New York also support a constitutional amendment to allow slot machines, table games and card games in various locations throughout New York state, possibly even in Manhattan.

New Jersey Assemblyman Ralph Caputo who serves on the Assembly Regulatory Oversight and Gaming Committee, is the sponsor of two separate bills that would authorize the installation of the VLT’s at the Meadowlands. Both bills would require voter approval at the ballot and specify that the VLT’s would be developed and operated by the NJ Sports and Exposition Authority, under the umbrella of the New Jersey Lottery Commission, and with enforcement responsibilities assigned to the Division of Gaming Enforcement.

Caputo asks, “How long are we going to sit idle while encroaching competition threatens to drown our gaming industry?” He adds, “All of our immediate neighbors – New York, Pennsylvania and Connecticut – are aggressively pursuing new gaming options while New Jersey sits on its hands,” says Caputo. “The time to install VLT’s at the Meadowlands is now.”

The Assemblyman is open to the idea of allowing gaming throughout New Jersey. He suggests allowing Atlantic City casinos to run the gambling operations as a managing group and share in the profits. Caputo hopes the voters will approve his measures before the 2014 Super Bowl comes to the Meadowlands.

“We must face the fact that gamblers are already being lured away from Atlantic City and out of the state completely to racinos and other new gaming venues in New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Delaware,” explains Caputo. “We have a responsibility not only to protect Atlantic City casinos, but to also do all we can to support our entire gaming industry, to retain and expand the revenue it generates and, most importantly, to keep that revenue here in New Jersey.”

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