NJ may go for video lottery terminal

New Jersey voters will decide next month whether to approve casino development outside AC.

US.- New Jersey is assessing the gambling future of the State weeks before the ballot, which will determine the permission or rejection of casino developments outside Atlantic City. The gaming hub of the State has been facing several losses, with the closure of five casinos since 2014, and now New Jersey will present further options to boost the industry.

Although new casinos outside the established gaming zone can jeopardise the casino revenues of the city that is already in crisis, Assemblyman Ralph Caputo will not wait for the results of the ballot in order to introduce a second option to install slot machines across New Jersey.

The northern New Jersey Democrat assemblyman commented yesterday his intentions to amend two bills presented in January to authorise video lottery terminals, essentially slots machines, at the State racetracks, including the Meadowlands in East Rutherford and Monmouth Park in Oceanport. The gambling bill would not have to be necessarily approved by a public ballot.

“This is a way to get back into the game,” Caputo stated. Currently, New Jersey Constitution limits casino permission only to Atlantic City. However, the two bills would not interfere with the resolution, as the video lottery terminals would be authorised by the lottery but then overseen by state gambling regulators. Caputo’s proposal is to overturn a rule signed in 1983 by Republican Governor Tom Kean that barred the state lottery from using such machines.

If the bills are approved, the racetrack revenues from the slot machines will be destined to prizes payment, the state’s expenses in administering the machines, and they will provide 18 percent of revenues to a fund for the horse racing industry. The fund will be administered by the New Jersey Racing Commission.