Whelan Statement On Signing Of Landmark Casino Reform Laws

Measures Give Atlantic City Tools and Support Needed to Survive

ATLANTIC CITY – Senator Jim Whelan, D-Atlantic, the Chair of the Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation Committee, and co-chair of the landmark Legislative Gaming Summit which developed a game plan for casino and racetrack stability and revitalization earlier this year, issued the following statement today after the Governor signed two landmark casino reform bills in Atlantic City:

“As the economic engine for Southern New Jersey, Atlantic City’s casino industry is of vital importance, and the jobs, tax revenue and economic activity produced through casino gambling have an impact on the entire state. However, with increased competition from out-of-state gaming vendors, and with a soft economy, people are spending less money at our State’s casinos, and the entire industry is in crisis.

“Without some kind of immediate policy intervention, the casino industry cannot and will not survive.

“The bills that Governor Christie signed today are a strong start, and will begin to put our casino industry on surer fiscal footing. They create a special tourism district to ensure that we have the adequate marketing, public safety and oversight to make Atlantic City a true resort destination. And they ease some of the draconian regulations which go back to the early days of gambling in New Jersey, and impose a significant burden on new developers coming into the city.

“At the end of the day, these bills aren’t a magic bullet cure to all of Atlantic City’s fiscal woes. But they move the ball down the court, and create a strong foundation from which to build.

“I look forward to continue working with the Governor and policymakers on both sides of the aisle to promote economic stability and growth in Atlantic City’s casino industry. The stakes are too high to fail, and we need to work cooperatively and decisively to give gaming and wagering in New Jersey a fighting chance.”

The first bill, S-11, creates a special Atlantic City Tourism (ACT) District and expands marketing of the resort, and the second bill, S-12, revises casino industry regulation. Both bills received final legislative approval earlier this month in the Senate.

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