New Jersey's 26th Legislative District

Senator Joe Pennacchio

Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio Introduces Constitutional Amendment to Partner Racetrack and Video Slots, Aid Public Pensions

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Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-Morris) has introduced a constitutional amendment to allow video slot wagering at the New Jersey horse racetracks. SCR134, which would need voter approval, allows the legislature to authorize slot machine wagering at New Jersey’s current four racetracks.

Under the proposed constitutional amendment, New Jersey’s horse racing facilities could host slot machines with a portion of the profits supporting the state’s pension system and Atlantic city revitalization. (Meadowlands Racetrack/Facebook)

“Allowing slot machine wagering at New Jersey’s race tracks could generate hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue to support the pensions system and the revitalization of Atlantic City,” Pennacchio said. “There is an inevitability to racetrack “racinos” in New Jersey. Why not use the moment to strengthen and encourage Atlantic City and its casinos as well as increasing the solvency of our public workers pensions?”

The resolution provides that the wagering operations would be run by a consortium of Atlantic City casinos.

“The larger the presence in Atlantic City the larger the presence and profit on the consortium,” Pennacchio said. “No presence in Atlantic City means no presence in the profitable slot wagering enterprise.”

Under the amendment, the profits of slot machine wagering at racetracks would be divided 50 percent for the state, 40 percent for the consortium and 10 percent for infrastructure and entertainment enhancements in Atlantic City. The state’s share of the revenue would be dedicated to the state’s pension system, either directly, or to satisfy debt service for early infusions of money into the system.

“Between October 2006 and June 2012, New York’s Yonkers racino contributed $1.5 billion back to New YorkState,” Pennacchio said. “New York’s nine racinos contributed more back to New York than all casinos in both Las Vegas and New Jersey combined. It’s time to leverage New Jersey’s racetracks to bring some of this money back to the state and Atlantic City.”

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