New Jersey's 26th Legislative District

Senator Joe Pennacchio

Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio Renews Call for Racinos Following Defeat of North Jersey Casinos Measure

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Following the defeat of a ballot measure by New Jersey voters which would have allowed for the establishment of casinos in North Jersey, Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-26) renewed his call for the limited expansion of gaming at horse racetracks in the state.

Senator Joe Pennacchio’s proposed constitutional amendment, SCR-16, would allow for slot wagering at New Jersey’s horse racing facilities. (Wikimedia Commons)

Pennachio’s proposed constitutional amendment, SCR-16, would permit slot machine gambling at those venues.

“I’ve said for a number of years that the establishment of North Jersey casinos would cannibalize the existing casino industry in Atlantic City, putting the struggling city in further financial jeopardy,” said Pennacchio. “The defeat of Public Question #1 was the public’s response. It’s time that the Legislature consider the establishment of racinos, as I have proposed, to bolster our casino industry, stabilize our pension systems, aid in the financial recovery of Atlantic City, and provide the support our horse racing industry needs to survive.”

Under SCR-16, the so-called “racinos” could only be operated by companies that operate casinos in Atlantic City. Sixty percent of the revenue from gaming at the facilities would be dedicated to New Jersey’s public worker pension system, 30 percent would go to the current consortium of operating Atlantic City casinos, 7 percent would go to the recovery, stabilization, or improvement of Atlantic City and 3 percent would go to support state’s equine industry.

The measure has garnered the support of the two of the state’s largest public sector unions, the Fireman’s Mutual Benevolent Association and the New Jersey State Police Benevolent Association.

“The racino model has generated huge revenues for the State of New York,” added Pennacchio. “It’s a proven model that works. The nine racinos in New York generate more tax revenues than all of the Atlantic City and Las Vegas casinos combined. The Yonkers racino alone generates more tax revenue for the State of New York than all of the Atlantic City casinos give to New Jersey. If we allow racinos to operate at New Jersey’s racetracks, we can generate hundreds of millions of dollars to support our underfunded pension systems and boost Atlantic City, all without raising taxes or cutting other programs or services. Now that the prospect of North Jersey casinos has failed, it’s time for the Legislature to take a serious look at racinos.”

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