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Atlantic City Servers May Get to Mention Alcohol

11 June 2002

ATLANTIC CITY, New Jersey – As reported by the Associated Press: "When cocktail server Tina Jennetta walks the aisles between slot parlors at Tropicana Casino and Resort, gamblers know exactly what she's offering.

"She's just not allowed to say it out loud.

"…If it's Scotch, beer, wine, or a cocktail you want, just ask. The liquor is free, as long as you're gambling. But under New Jersey casino law, Jennetta can't mention alcohol or offer it in her solicitation.

"Soon, that may change.

"A deregulation bill making its way through the Legislature would allow casino cocktail servers to say `cocktail' or use other words connoting alcoholic beverages.

"…The bill's co-sponsor, state Sen. William L. Gormley, R-Atlantic [says], `They want to be able to talk like any other beverage server in the country.'

"New Jersey's subtle language distinction dates to 1977, when the framers of the Casino Control Act fashioned a series of restrictions aimed at protecting gamblers.

"Some limited casinos' hours of operation, banned the advertising of odds, and required casino hotels to build their casino areas so that they couldn't be seen from outside.

"The idea behind the alcohol solicitation ban was to prevent casinos from plying customers with booze in hopes they would continue gambling and lose more money.

"But 24 years after the first casino opened here, many of New Jersey's strictest rules have been stricken from the books. Casinos are open 24 hours now. Odds advertising is permitted. The ban on casino visibility has also been dropped.

"Now, some say, it's time to eliminate the gag on cocktail servers.

"…Gamblers have mixed reviews for the would-be change.

"…A cocktail server at Trump Plaza who would not give her name said the change would have little practical effect. Whether she offers alcohol by name or not, gamblers know she can bring it to them…"

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