In the state of New Jersey, Assemblyman Ralph Caputo has announced he has plans to create a measure to explain, in detail, how the revenues from the gaming venues in the north of New Jersey will be utilized. This will include information on aid for senior programs as well as public space funding and improvements to transportation.

Caputo will be detailing in the measure just how state funding derived from the new casinos will be used. Senior programs to benefit will include Meals on Wheels, Pharmaceutical Assistance to the Aged and Disabled as well as Senior Freeze. Recovery initiatives for Atlantic City are also in the mix.

According to Caputo, transparency and clarity are critical for the residents of New Jersey and every party involved in the casino debate of North Jersey, especially as the November elections draw near. Negative and positive opinions have been reported on the issue and according to Caputo, it is necessary for the intent of legislature for funding from the casinos to be spelt out definitively.

Caputo wants voters to be clear on what they will be casting a vote for this November. He wants voters to know where legislature stands and with the resolution, feels that the intent for the state portion of funding will be in writing and can be agreed upon by each house.

The intent of legislature will be expressed by the Senate Concurrent Resolution No I of 2016 after being approved by the Assembly Concurrent Resolution. The resolution proposes that an amendment be made to the state constitution to authorize casino gambling in the northern portion of New Jersey and will be considered by voters in the election this November.

Details of how state funds will be distributed after being brought in from northern casino will be provided with the concurrent resolution. The information will include how funding will be provided for public spaces as well as transportation, including improvements to infrastructure.

Information will be provided on how senior citizens will benefit from funding via reductions of property tax and programs by the counties. Funding will be provided for efforts of recovery for Atlantic City via programs to help with finding employment for individuals who lost their job from working at casino properties of the city that are now closed.

Funds will go towards promotional support for Atlantic City to be a destination resort with grants as well as loans offered for the promotion of development of non-gaming amenities such as attractions and destination programming. Programs will be created to aid as well as encourage thoroughbred and standard bred industries.

Also to be included are guidelines that will explain how the location of the casino venues will be chosen as well as how operators will be selected for licensing. The 15th of September marks the date the resolution will be introduced.

Additional reporting by Lars Jones

On Tuesday, opposition forces pushed back on the Assemblyman’s efforts. Trenton’s Bad Bet, a group partially funded by Genting, owners of Resorts World, a New York state virtual lottery terminal casino at Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens released a statement from Bill Cortese, executive director of Trenton’s Bad Bet that read in part: “Trenton politicians are doing what they always do, attempting to color the story in an effort to cover up how this referendum is intended to help special interest groups,” Cortese said. “How can Assemblyman Caputo deliver a detailed plan for revenue distribution on nonexistent tax rates and when no real economic examination has ever taken place? The numbers politicians are throwing around appear to be pulled completely out of thin air.”

The group’s statement went on to say that the concurrent resolution placing the casino referendum on the ballot makes no mention of the tax rate or definite revenue from North Jersey casinos. The tax rate will be set in the enabling legislation, commonly passed after a referendum passes. Senate President, Steve Sweeney has already said he may not want to introduce enabling legislation until after the November vote, according to the media release.


One Response

  1. Steven Norton

    This is great news for North Jersey gaming, but even with new Legislation, if it isn’t specific enough; the referendum will fail. Assemblyman Caputo and Senator Whelan are on point, that Atlantic City and Seniors and the disabled, need to know what they can reasonably expect, from North Jersey gaming

    Why not establish the Pennsylvania tax rates for developers (spending at least a $1 billion), as they are the primary competition facing a North Jersey casino. Then determine what percent is going to Seniors and the disabled (that have lost $1.8 billion,since PA approved slots in greater Philadelphia). Then tell Atlantic City what their share is for giving up a monopoly; that was effectively lost in 2006.

    The other critical component for a successful referendum, is to severely limit the possible locations; preferably just the two that have developed plans, the Meadowlands and Jersey City. This would prevent NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) from prompting a no vote from residents in communities, that would still be in play. That was the primary reason the referendum failed in 1974 (60% to 40%); where every county could have a casino.
    The beauty of this plan, is the Meadowlands could be operational, within a year; probably 4 to 5 years before NY could act in Manhattan. And the PA tax (55% on slot and 16% on table win), could apply to the more expensive Jersey City casino, by giving credits against the win tax, for amounts spent above $1 billion.

    I recently prepared a study of county populations in Eastern PA, New Jersey, NY City and the NY Counties of Orange, Westchester, Nassau and Suffolk. The Meadowlands has over 6 million persons, that are closer to the Track, than and other gaming establishment. That is the same sized convenience market, that permits Aqueduct to win $800 million at a race track with only slot machines.
    But with table games, a large showroom, multiple restaurants and lounges, and better access to Manhattans (by car,bus,limo and rail); a Meadowlands casino could easily surpass the Aqueduct revenues and possibly surpass the $1 billion mark.
    And being only 15 minutes from Manhattan, means the millions of tourists, traveling businessmen and convention/trade show attendees, can easily spend a night at an entertainment facility, not currently offered in the City.
    Those concerned citizens of South Jersey, have to realize that the Atlantic City’s business model has to move toward that of the Strip in Las Vegas; where casino revenue is less than 35% of total revenue, while AC’s is still 70%. The big difference is the larger Strip resorts are making 73% of their operating earnings from the once forgotten departments; rooms, food, beverage, convention, entertainment an retail. The Strip learned about the value of the convention/trade show business; that fills rooms mid-week. All you have to do is look at booking web site, and compare the Saturday night room rate for AC casinos, with that of Tuesday night. Frequently, in the Fall, Winter and Spring; the mid-week room is 80% to 90% cheaper. Add to that, that AC casino resorts comp. more than 50% of their room, food and beverage revenues; plus give away $ millions in free play, and you see a business plan that needs redirection.


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