July 25, 2006

NJ Gov seeks to shield Atlantic City from rivals

NEW YORK (Reuters) - New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine on Tuesday
said a strategy will have to be found to protect Atlantic
City's casinos from competition from neighboring states that
legalized thousands of video lottery terminals.

"We have to protect Atlantic City ... but I'm opposed to
video lottery terminals," the Democratic governor said on an
Atlantic City radio show.

The state's new $31 billion budget, reached earlier this
month after a brief government shutdown that closed Atlantic
City's resorts, does not include this revenue-raiser, he said.

But Delaware already is adding slot machines, and
Philadelphia, which has licensed as many as 61,000 video
lottery terminals, soon will follow.

New York state's plans to add 4,500 video lottery terminals
at the Aqueduct racetrack in New York City have been repeatedly

The latest hitch was due to delays in getting regulatory
approvals, according to the New York Racing Association, which
signed a deal with MGM Mirage. The NYRA runs New York's

"I do think in the long run we need to worry about the
competitive position of Atlantic City when everybody else is
doing something else around us," Corzine added.

New Jersey's constitution restricts slot machines to
Atlantic City. But other states have sidestepped similar bans
by using video lottery terminals, which operate differently.

Atlantic City has a dozen casinos, which draw about 33
million visitors a year and generate $1.3 million a day in tax

In addition to MGM, Trump Entertainment Resorts and Boyd
Gaming all have big stakes in Atlantic City casinos.