To turn circumstances around in Atlantic City, state officials have now approved a multi-state slots system and Director of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement David Rebuck told NJTV News Managing Editor Mike Schneider that he is pushing for the system to be up and running by this summer.
“We haven’t really put any revenue figures on it. About 18 months ago, the governor signed into law the authorization to have this interstate arrangement of slot play between states. Our state allows for it. Many states have not considered it before so we had to undertake an aggressive action to reach out to other states to generate some interest on their behalf and we also worked with the slot manufacturing companies who would benefit from it also,” said Rebuck.
Rebuck said that he sees this as an opportunity for New Jersey to distance itself from its competitors — surrounding states, who do not have multi-state slots systems. He said that New Jersey would have the opportunity to have interesting sized jackpots, similar to the lottery, if more states get involved.
“Pennsylvania does not authorize by law wide area progressives and New York and Delaware do not have slot machines, they have video terminals and the two are not compatible. New Jersey has to look to other states and we have a long dialogue with Nevada in particular and Nevada’s gaming board. Its commission has recently authorized it as a state to have a wide area progressive interstate slot play with other states,” said Rebuck.
Rebuck said he is actively having discussions with Nevada, as well as International Gaming Technology (IGT) and Bally’s Technology, companies that offer slot machines.
“I think we will be successful in the future and I look forward to that,” Rebuck said.
South Dakota is another state that has a commission that has authorized it to engage in discussions about the system, Rebuck said.
Rebuck said that the way that the revenue structure would be set up is very similar to the way that the lottery is. The amount of money in the jackpot increases based on how much is played. “You’d have quite a bit of interest because the jackpots would be growing faster and higher. You’d have people who might gamble in surrounding states, come to New Jersey because the opportunity to maximize their play would be potentially much greater,” said Rebuck.
Rebuck said he is very optimistic and is pushing for the system to start in the summer because the summer months are busy for the casinos. He said that IGT is ready with the equipment and Bally’s is working to get their equipment certified by the Division of Gaming Enforcement. Rebuck said that all the casinos would have to do is buy the equipment from these companies.
“It’s just a matter then of the casinos working together amongst themselves, coming to agreements and the state’s authorizing it. We are closer now than ever before and we are going to keep pushing on our end,” said Rebuck.