Thursday, January 31, 2013 : SIGN THE ONLINE GAMBLING BILL INTO LAW, UNION TELLS CHRISTIE
Union boss says internet gambling could be the difference between thriving and closing for some Atlantic City casinos
Bob McDevitt, the head of Local 54 of the Unite-HERE union – the largest casino workers union in Atlantic City – has called on New Jersey governor Chris Christie to sign the intrastate online gambling bill sitting on his desk into law.
McDevitt said in a statement Thursday that he supports the idea of legalised online gambling in New Jersey to preserve jobs, and opined that online betting revenue could make the difference between two or more casinos surviving or having to close.
“In the past several years, Atlantic City has suffered as the result of increased competition from neighboring states,” the union chief said.
“Gaming revenues have declined by 40 percent, causing reduced tax revenue for programs that support New Jersey’s seniors, fewer jobs and reduced wages for casino workers as the casinos need fewer employees to staff the facilities. The Internet gaming bill gives New Jersey the opportunity to change that.”
McDevitt cited studies projecting that Internet gambling in New Jersey could produce $650 million to $850 million in revenue in its first year, and $1.5 billion annually within a few years.
“We believe that this increased revenues could make the difference between two or more casinos staying open or closing,” he said. “Keeping those casinos open means saving more than 3,000 jobs. This bill will allow Atlantic City to compete more effectively, increase tax revenues and save thousands of jobs.”
The New Jersey legislature passed a bill legalising online gambling within state borders in December last year; Christie has a week left to either sign the bill into law or veto it.
The bill would allow land casino operators in Atlantic City to offer online gambling from servers located on their premises or within secure premises within Atlantic City borders.
Internet gambling revenues would be taxed at 10 percent, up from the 8 percent that the casinos pay for money won on their premises.