Lesniak Statement On Gaming Task Force Recommendations

Veteran Lawmaker Says, “Where’s the Beef?”

TRENTON – Senator Raymond J. Lesniak, D-Union, the Legislature’s leading advocate of sports wagering and economic revitalization in Atlantic City and a member of the Joint Gaming Summit, issued the following statement today regarding the New Jersey Gaming, Sports and Entertainment Advisory Commission Report:

“The proposals outlined by the Task Force could lead to massive construction in Atlantic City, except that the Task Force failed to answer one question: ‘Where’s the money coming from?’

“Taking over Atlantic City can only be justified if it substantially increases capital investment into Atlantic City. The one question every casino executive should be asked and be expected to answer is ‘How much additional capital are they prepared to invest as a result of a state take over?’

“Atlantic City needs to be transformed from a casino destination to a resort and entertainment destination. The infrastructure, neighborhood development and public amenities necessary for that transformation exceeds $1 billion, which would be available if we ease regulations to allow Internet wagering to be operated by Atlantic City casinos and start laying the groundwork for the eventual legalization of sports wagering in New Jersey.

“A State takeover of the casino district does nothing to infuse Atlantic City with the resources needed and allows Las Vegas, New York, Pennsylvania and Delaware to continue to take these resources from New Jersey.

“The entire city needs to be transformed, not just the casino district. Atlantic City is not an oasis in the desert. A partnership is needed, not a takeover, similar to my legislation that was recently approved for the Fort Monmouth area.

“This plan was designed to keep Atlantic City on life support, not to give it new life.”