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Asm. Caputo: Caesars’ NY Casino Bid is a Slap in the Face to NJ

4-25-14

Caesars Entertainment is making a bid to open a new casino resort in Orange County, New York near Woodbury Commons. Tourism and Gaming Committee Chair Assemblyman Ralph Caputo told NJTV News Managing Editor Mike Schneider that Caesars putting in a bid in New York is a slap in the face to New Jersey because it would take revenue away from the Garden State.

Caputo said that Caesars is being hypocritical because on one hand, it accepted all of the reforms that the administration and the legislature put into place for the industry. He said that the company also fought bringing gaming to any other place in New Jersey.

There is no guarantee that Caesars will get the bid in New York, but the fact that the company put in a bid is a slap in the face to New Jersey, Caputo said.

Caputo said that Caesars is backing up its investment because in Atlantic City, Showboat is not doing well, so the company is interested in the bottom line. He said that it’s unfair to fight changing locations in New Jersey where the state would benefit from a revenue increase and go out of state and bring those customers somewhere else where another state would pick up 50 percent of the revenue.

He said that he would not be surprised at all if Caesars made the move.

“Times have changed since I worked in Atlantic City and the fact is all the efforts of the administration and the legislature should bring some kind of honest dialogue between these corporations and the government. Without government support, they would not be doing even as well as they are doing. They are not doing that well but they would be doing a lot less business,” said Caputo.

Caesars representatives have said that they are still committed to Atlantic City, but Caputo said that it does not seem like they are. He said that if the company is going somewhere else and resisting all changes of what locations gaming can be within the state, it doesn’t sound like it is committed to New Jersey.

“Caesars is hypocritical. They are in Chester, Delaware, Maryland. Now they want to go to New York. They will go anywhere where they think they can make money. I think when Gov. Chris Christie came in, I think Caesars was very strong about their commitment to Atlantic City, but they see what we see — that Atlantic City is not sustaining itself — and they want to boost their investment,” said Caputo. “They are looking for other destinations. If they could get the Meadowlands, they would take it in a minute.”

Caputo thinks that Caesars should be working with the transition in terms of what is going on in Atlantic City and explore other locations in New Jersey because the proposed New York location is going to be drawing upon the same market. He said that going to New York will attract customers from New York, North Jersey and Pennsylvania and draw those markets to Woodbury instead of to New Jersey.

“This is a sign that they are not committed to the state as we are to the gaming business. Thirty million dollars went to their promotion instead of the race tracks. The state is doing everything that they can. I don’t think there is anything dishonest about looking at other options in the state because that is what we want to do. We don’t want to lose gaming revenue,” said Caputo. “They are playing that hand by openly dictating that they want to go to New York.”