If there’s a will, there’s a way.
In case New Jersey voters will reject a plan to expand casinos to the northern part of the state this November, New Jersey lawmaker Ralph Caputo has already prepared a Plan B to get slots machines into the state’s racetracks.
Caputo’s Plan B is simple: amending two bills he introduced this year to authorize video lottery terminals – essentially slot machines – at state racetracks including the Meadowlands in East Rutherford and Monmouth Park in Oceanport.
CBS Philly reported that unlike the ballot question referendum, Caputo’s Plan B will not involve asking the public’s permission. To do that, Caputo will simply remove a requirement for a new referendum in his bills.
“This is a way to get back into the game,” Caputo said.
The New Jersey assemblyman anchored his plan to a 1982 opinion by then-state Attorney General Irwin Kimmelman. Kimmelman, in his opinion, said video lottery terminals would not require an amendment to the state Constitution, which currently limits casino gambling to Atlantic City.
If successful, Caputo’s measure will reverse a 1983 rule penned by Republican Gov. Tom Kean that barred the state lottery from using such machines.
The machines would be authorized by the lottery but then overseen by state gambling regulators.
New Jersey’s horse racing industry is pushing for slot machines in the state’s racetracks in order for them to catch up with so-called “racinos” in neighboring Pennsylvania and New York.
According to the plan, the proceeds will be divided to pay prizes to winners; cover the state’s expenses in administering the machines, and provide 18 percent of revenues to a fund for the horse racing industry, to be administered by the New Jersey Racing Commission.
At least 83.4 percent of the total horse fund money will go to the Standardbred and thoroughbred racing industries to supplement track purses, with the rest going to supplement horse breeding and development programs.