New Jersey to Study Effects of Slot Machines in Atlantic City with New Slots Proposal
On April 4, 2007, cash strapped New Jersey will review whether putting up video lottery terminals (VLTs) at the Meadowlands Racetrack will help produce the hundreds of millions of dollars that the state badly needs without severely affecting the casinos in Atlantic City.
Sen. Paul Sarlo commented that New Jersey has no choice but to allow the slot machines to be put up at the sports complex because of the expansion of gambling in New Jersey's neighboring states.
Sen. Sarlo commented that he does not want their state to be put in an uneasy position because the cash that is supposed to be going to New Jersey will be diverted to other states. Sen. Sarlo, together with Sen. Joseph Coniglio, both Democrats for Bergen, commented that placing VLTs, which can simulate common casino games like poker and slot machines, at the Meadowlands Racetrack could produce as much as $300 million annually to fill the state's budget deficit.
State Treasurer Bradley Abelow commented that he is still not certain whether those numbers are achievable or not, but the Spokesman for the Treasury, Tom Vincz, commented that their department plans to hire a consultant who will determine the impact of the VLTs on the state if it became legalized.
But legislators from South Jersey are worried about the effects of the VLT's if they are approved. The casinos in Atlantic City are already faced with considerable pressure from casinos and slots parlors that are in Pennsylvania and New York, like the Yonkers Raceway located at the Garden State Border.
Profits coming from the slot machines in Atlantic City have slid down since the casinos in Pennsylvania opened last January 2007. VLTs are legal in the states of Delaware, Louisiana, Montana, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota and West Virginia. South Dakota was the first state to allow video lottery games back in 1989.
Since legalizing the video lottery machines, South Dakota has earned a total of $1 billion. South Dakota currently has 8,300 video lottery machines in about 1,400 business establishments. The VLTs in South Dakota feature poker, blackjack, keno and bingo.
On the other hand, New Jersey has received a total of $450 million annually for casino revenues, but Senator Shirley Turner said that the shortage of the slot revenues from Atlantic City could affect the state's gambling revenue. She is worried that Pennsylvania will continue to lure away the slots customers of New Jersey. But Abelow commented that the effect of the casinos in Pennsylvania and the racing tracks in New York on the state budget is still uncertain.