(TRENTON) - Legislation Assembly Democrats Ralph Caputo, Speaker Sheila Oliver and Valerie Vainieri Huttle sponsored to create a commission to evaluate recently enacted gaming reforms and explore expanding gaming into Bergen County was released Thursday by an Assembly panel.
The bill (AJR-11) establishes a 13-member Casino Gaming Study to evaluate the impact of recently enacted casino gaming statutory revisions, regulatory reforms and technological reforms, and also explore the future prospects for casino expansion to Bergen County.
"This is not about taking business away from Atlantic City," said Caputo (D-Essex), a longtime advocate of expanding casino gaming to the Meadowlands. "This is about missing out on the available markets in northern New Jersey and the surrounding region. With continuously encroaching competition from New York and Pennsylvania, the longer we wait the more our window of opportunity closes"
"It's becoming clear that New Jersey is at risk of being left behind when it comes to localized gaming experiences," said Oliver (D-Essex/Passaic). "Atlantic City will always be a prized destination point, but for those that want a quick and easy getaway, perhaps for just a few hours, they are increasingly turning to Pennsylvania and New York for this convenience. If New Jersey is going to stay competitive, it needs to explore its options."
"We have some of the most prized real estate in the Northeast languishing when we could be capitalizing on the proximity of the Meadowlands to entice patrons from New York City and the surrounding suburbs," said Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen). "Now is the time to concentrate on finding the best ways to utilize gaming to boost the North Jersey economy and our state as a whole."
The commission would review the impact of all casino industry legislation and reform measures enacted and implemented in this State since the beginning of calendar year 2010, but this time period requirement would not prevent the commission from evaluating these recently enacted legislative measures and reforms in historical perspective.
The resolution further provides that the commission would issue a report one year from the date of its organization. The commission would submit the report, together with any recommendations it may have for legislative or regulatory action, to the Governor and the Legislature, and would expire 30 days after the issuance of its final report.
Of the total commission membership, four would be appointed by the President of the Senate; two by the Senate Minority Leader; four by the Speaker of the General Assembly; two by the Assembly Minority Leader; and one member would be appointed by the Governor.
The bill was released by the Assembly Regulatory Oversight and Gaming Committee.