Video slots a safe bet for Garden State racetracksShould slot machines be added at New Jersey racetracks?
New Jersey has stiff gaming competition from nearby states for a finite level of gaming revenues. The proliferation of slot machine parlors and ÂracinosÂ with video lottery terminals present a grave threat to Atlantic City gaming and horse tracks throughout the state.
New JerseyÂs $1.1 billion-a-year horse racing industry Â which includes racetracks, breeding farms, more than 100,000 acres of open space and 14,000 related jobs Â is in serious peril.
Slashed purses have downgraded the quality of horse racing, and itÂs clear that the racing industry needs a stable source of funding. VLTs could bolster business and revenue at tracks.
New Jersey is a thriving tourist destination, but because of growing competition in neighboring states, we must work to preserve all areas of our gaming industry and draw gamblers from other states.
I feel that VLTs will reinvigorate our racing industry, and will capture the funds currently being spent at out-of-state gaming facilities.
Paul Sarlo (D-Wood-Ridge)
Yes. New JerseyÂs gaming industry needs to diversify its products in order to compete. Atlantic CityÂs casinos and New JerseyÂs horse racing and breeding industries are in serious trouble because of tough and growing competition from neighboring states. Twenty years ago, Atlantic City stood alone as the East Coast gaming destination. Today, 32 gaming venues operate in our five-state region. Twelve are located just over our borders, where they siphon off tax revenue and jobs.
It is imperative we develop strategies for keeping gaming dollars in New Jersey. ItÂs not horse racing versus casinos, but New Jersey workers and employers against their counterparts in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware and New York.
As a member of the GovernorÂs Commission on the Horse Racing Industry, I have been studying solutions. Allowing slots at New JerseyÂs racetracks would be one policy change that could help New Jersey keep its status as the premier horse-racing destination on the East Coast.
Jennifer Beck (R-Red Bank)
Political Exchange is a weekly feature in which a Democrat and a Republican answer a question related to a New Jersey business issue. The writers did not see the other partyÂs response in advance. Have a reaction to what you read? Want to suggest a question? Contact us at [email protected].