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SAYS INTERNET GAMING SHOULD BE DONE THROUGH BALLOT REFERENDUM THIS NOVEMBER
Referendum Would Provide Legal Framework to Protect Consumers, Crack Down on Illegal Foreign Gaming Operations, and Recover Lost State Tax Revenue
(Atlantic City, NJ) – The Casino Association of New Jersey, while supportive of pursuing internet gaming in New Jersey, today applauded Governor Chris Christie’s veto of the recently-passed internet gaming bill, suggesting the measure should instead be passed by a ballot referendum by New Jersey voters in the November 2011 election. A ballot referendum would provide the necessary legal framework to authorize the operation of safe online gaming by licensed and transparent New Jersey companies.
“The right way to get this bill done to avoid costly and time-consuming legal wrangling is through a referendum placed before voters on this November’s ballot, and we are committed to working with the Governor and our legislative leadership to make that happen,” said Robert Griffin, President of the Casino Association of New Jersey (CANJ). “Currently, millions of Americans engage in online gaming with illegal off-shore operators, and do so with no oversight, no regulation, or no consumer protections. It makes sense for the state of New Jersey to regulate this activity, enforce strict standards to ensure games are fair and safe, and in turn be able to collect tax revenue instead of having those dollars and the jobs they support leaving New Jersey and going illegally overseas.”
Unlike New Jersey’s casino industry which supports over 2,200 small businesses in New Jersey, indirectly supports over 100,000 jobs statewide, and provides nearly a billion dollars annually in tax revenue to state and local governments, online gaming in its current form enriches illegal foreign operators only and pays no tax on its earnings.
“Moving quickly this fall to permit internet gaming through a ballot referendum will put Atlantic City at the forefront of this emerging marketplace, and keep tax dollars, jobs and business here in New Jersey. It would also be another positive step that allows Atlantic City to continue to grow, invest and transform into a world class destination resort,” added Griffin. “We are proud of the work that our Governor, the legislature, the business community, labor, and other important stakeholders have achieved already to protect Atlantic City’s tourism industry and its nearly 40,000 direct employees, and will continue to be an active partner in that effort.”
Atlantic City is not only the second largest gambling market in the country behind Las Vegas, it boasts 34 million visitors per year and is responsible for a third of all tourism dollars generated in New Jersey. As a result, the casino industry is one of the largest employers in the state, providing 38,000 direct jobs. It spends approximately $2 billion per year with 2,200 small businesses in every county across New Jersey.
CANJ is a not-for-profit organization which represents operators of New Jersey casino resorts. It serves as a collective voice for the industry and concentrates on the betterment of industry employees, government relations, casino-affiliated businesses and the casino industry itself.