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Atlantic City casinos, tracks reach deal

29 August 2008

ATLANTIC CITY, New Jersey -- As reported by the Press of Atlantic City: "Slot parlors in Pennsylvania, New York and Delaware have been chipping away at Atlantic City's business, but at least the casinos no longer have to worry about losing their customers to New Jersey racetracks.

"After more than a year of negotiations, the casinos have finally wrapped up an agreement with the horseracing industry to block slot machine-like video lottery terminals at the tracks, a casino representative said Wednesday.

"The agreement, signed Aug. 13 without fanfare and with no public announcement, requires the casinos to pay the tracks $90 million over the next three years in exchange for a moratorium on VLTs.

"Casinos vigorously opposed VLTs as debate raged in the state Legislature on whether to place thousands of the machines at the Meadowlands track in northern New Jersey. The issue died down when Gov. Jon S. Corzine signed legislation in April to keep VLTs out of New Jersey for the next three years, while requiring the casinos to bail out the financially ailing tracks.

"...Even though Corzine signed the no-VLT legislation into law months ago, the final details for the subsidy agreement had to be worked out between the Governor's Office, the Casino Association and the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, the state agency representing the horseracing industry.

"...The new agreement calls for the governor to form a committee to study the long-term financial viability of the tracks, a sign that the casinos want to see some other funding source in place of their subsidies after 2011..."

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