Kicking off the unofficial start of the summer season, Governor Chris Christie today reaffirmed the Administration's commitment to developing Atlantic City into a premier destination resort that offers myriad activities in addition to casino gaming -- from the beach and boardwalk to world-class entertainment, shopping and dining. During his visit, Governor Christie also announced the Administration will be publishing new proposed regulations to authorize sports wagering at casinos and racetracks on certain professional and collegiate sports events.
"Tourism is a critical industry on the rebound in New Jersey and Atlantic City is at the center of that activity -- both for the regional and state economies," said Governor Christie. "The bottom line is that a successful tourism industry means greater business opportunities for every aspect of Atlantic City's entertainment, retail, recreational and casino landscape. Working collaboratively with our partners like the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority and Atlantic City Alliance, and city and county governments, we are continuing to advance a vision that will ensure long-term growth and prosperity of this historic seaside resort."
Last year, tourists spent $38 billion on their visits to the Garden State, just shy of the all-time high reached in 2007 of $39.5 billion and a 7 percent increase over 2010 figures. The shore economy alone (Atlantic, Cape May, Monmouth and Ocean counties) represents approximately half of that total.
In addition to a new $20 million DO AC television, radio and print advertising campaign to attract visitors to Atlantic City, the first such effort in years, good progress is being made in Atlantic City including: the completion of Revel; completion of Phase I of the Boardwalk Relighting Project at Albany to Rhode Island Ave; $125 million in renovations for the Golden Nugget Casino; completion of The Wave Garage/Christopher Columbus Mixed Use Center; the first phase of the $80 million Steel Pier renovation; and Tourism District Ambassadors for the Boardwalk, Atlantic and Pacific Avenues.
"I'm also pleased to announce our Administration's formal submission of sports wagering regulations," added Governor Christie. "I signed this bill into law because it is another way to continue to boost our casino and horse racing industries and encourage tourists to come to Atlantic City. We're doing this in a responsible way that not only gives visitors another option, but ensures we're doing it the right way."
Legislation signed earlier this year by Governor Christie allows wagering at casinos and racetracks on certain professional and collegiate sports events. The rules announced today by the Governor were developed by the Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE), in consultation with the Casino Control Commission (CCC) and the Racing Commission (RC).
To engage in the business of sports wagering, a person or entity must obtain a "sports pool license." Only a casino licensed by the CCC or a racetrack licensed by the RC may apply for and obtain a "sports pool license." Moreover, 50 percent of the proceeds derived from the collection of license fees will be used to fund compulsive gambling treatment programs.
The new regulations also establish that sports wagering takes place within a "sports pool lounge" located at a licensed facility. For racetracks, the lounge must be located in the simulcasting room or area, unless approved for another location by DGE.
While the new rules prohibit sports wagering on collegiate sports events that takes place in New Jersey or those that involve a New Jersey college team, there are no limits on professional sports teams.
The proposed rules will be published in the New Jersey Register on July 2.