TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Gov. Chris Christie and legislative leaders have announced an agreement on a measure to expand casino gambling to the northern part of the state.
Christie joined with Senate President Stephen Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto to announce the deal Monday.
It will guarantee a $1 billion minimum investment in any new northern New Jersey casino. That bill would need to be passed by a three-fifths majority in the new session, which begins Tuesday.
The Senate bill would require that both new casinos be owned by companies that already own an Atlantic City casino; the Assembly would only apply that requirement to one of the new licenses, meaning it would allow some of the top casino companies in the world to come to New Jersey, WCBS 880’s Kelly Waldron reported.
“We want real investment in the state of New Jersey. We don’t want slots in the box,” Sweeney said.
The bills also differ on how much of the gambling tax revenue generated by the new casinos would go to Atlantic City to compensate it for the expected loss of business from new in-state competition.
Most of the remaining revenue — after payments to the state’s horse racing industry and to communities that host the casinos — would go to programs and tax relief for senior citizens and the disabled statewide.
Christie, the main casino workers union in Atlantic City, and several construction unions have endorsed Sweeney’s bill; the mayors of Jersey City, Newark and Paterson are among those backing the Assembly measure.
The Assembly will take up a bill approved by the Senate Monday, but with the change.
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