Atlantic City Is Key To New Jersey’s Comeback
By Assemblymen John Amodeo and Chris A. Brown
(New Jersey Legislative District 2, parts of Atlantic County)
Supporters of a Meadowlands casino have been pushing for weeks about how casinogaming is a dying industry and New Jersey can’t compete against other states. Both statementsare untrue, but the conclusion that building a casino at the Meadowlands will somehow solve thatproblem is just wrong.Let’s be truthful. This isn’t about furious out-of-state competition or a stricken economy.Horse racing advocates want a casino in the Meadowlands because racetracks are dying a slowdeath and casinos are profitable.Speaking recently was a former chairman of the Sports and Exposition Authority, whichoperates the Meadowlands and Monmouth Park Racetracks. In the Assembly, the sponsor of thelegislation to make way for Meadowlands gaming has long supported racing. They want to propup horse racing purses because track attendance has fallen by 36 percent and profits have beencut in half over the last five years.Risking Atlantic City’s $3.8 billion successful gaming industry to help boost horse racingwould make even the most desperate gambler fold. Horse racing struggled to net only $118million last year, even with $170 million in purse subsidies since 2004. It’s crazy andshortsighted.Unlike horse racing, Atlantic City is not losing customers. Out-of-state competition onlysplit gamers’ time between Atlantic City and other states. Studies also show they aresignificantly more satisfied with their experience in Atlantic City than in Delaware, Connecticut,Pennsylvania and New York. When the industry rebounds – and it will – these new competitorswill be the ones in trouble.