Whelan Statement On Assembly Committee Approval Of Gaming And Wagering Bills

Says Bills Would Put Atlantic City on Fast Track to Economic Recovery

TRENTON – State Senator Jim Whelan, D-Atlantic, the Chair of the Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation Committee and co-chair of the Legislative Gaming Summit held throughout the summer, issued the following statement today regarding the Assembly Regulatory Oversight and Gaming Committee’s approval of a package of bills to stabilize and revitalize New Jersey’s gaming and wagering industries:

“Today, the Assembly took a significant step forward to put Atlantic City and New Jersey’s racetracks on a the fast track to economic recovery and fiscal stability. I applaud the Committee’s consideration of the package of bills advanced today, because I know they will make a difference in New Jersey’s economic future.

“The bills which moved today in the Assembly have taken months of hard work by bill sponsors in the Senate and Assembly. They represent a thoughtful, forward-looking approach to the problems affecting the casino and horse-racing industries. They expand the wagering products offered by New Jersey gaming providers, putting New Jersey at the head of the pack in terms of Internet and sports wagering. And they address some of the long-held public safety and regulatory concerns which have hindered investment in Atlantic City and elsewhere.

“While some may argue that the bills are moving too quickly through the legislative process, I would humbly disagree. The Legislature has been deliberative in its proceedings, taking the concerns made known to us from a wide range of stakeholders at a series of hearings in the southern, central and northern parts of the state into account in crafting these bills. And the crisis affecting New Jersey’s gaming and wagering industries is severe enough to warrant quick, decisive action.

“Growing up, I worked as a lifeguard on the beach in Atlantic City. Something I learned from that job is that when someone’s drowning, you don’t debate the best methods of saving them – you dive in and do the job. Atlantic City’s casinos are drowning in red ink. Horse tracks throughout the State are drowning in red ink. It’s time that we do something about it.

“I look forward to both houses of the Legislature considering the remainder of these bills, and for swift enactment by Governor Christie to save our gaming industries.”

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