Currently in the mainstream of discussion is the debate over whether to legalize sports betting in Atlantic City. The obvious impetus for the re-birth and rejuvenation of this discussion is the current and now consistently declining economy. To that end Atlantic City and the region in general are experiencing the same down market that the world economy as a whole is experiencing. More so the State of New Jersey has been wrestling with budgetary issues for many years now well before the overall economic decline. Measures and options of all kinds need to be considered in this dire time. The question is quite simple. Legalize Sports Betting in Atlantic City, Yes or No? The answer from this one persons perspective is an overwhelming YES!
I'd like to delve right into the absurdity in the fact that the issue of legalizing sports betting is even worthy of a debate. Especially considering the unique factor of doing so in Atlantic City. Atlantic City, and New Jersey for that matter has basically legalized almost every form of gaming. From full fledged casinos that have numerous types of table games, poker and slots, to both simulcast and live horse racing, to the lottery, New Jersey basically has it all. All that being said, for a state that has been struggling to find a solution to fill in the ever growing gap of deficit and budgetary crisis. Let's lay out how truly insane, ironic, hypocritical, counterintuitive the fact that legalized sports betting in Atlantic City is even an issue.
Ridiculous fact number one, the amount of money and resource that is being spent year in and year out to monitor, investigate and prosecute instances of illegal sports betting in New Jersey. Just think about that. New Jersey spends Millions of Dollars a year in criminal justice operations associated with sports betting. Does anyone else see the bizzaro world of logic here? First, we're spending money and focusing resources that could be used to monitor, investigate and prosecute criminal matters that truly have a serious epidemic effect, such as violent crime and guns. Second, the crime and legal process where the focus is being targeted is gambling related. It's not like we're in a state where the notion of gambling is taboo. We're in New Jersey!
Ridiculous fact number two, the incredible benefit to not only the casino industry but the ripple effect to the local economy. First, by increasing taxable income that is produced by the increase to the bottom line of the casinos. In the Summer of 2008, a $22 Million a year illegal sports betting operation was busted at the Borgata. That's one single operation that is operating behind the scenes, and not being actively marketed. Imagine a highly organized system, monitored by an existing and experienced regulatory agency, the Casino Control Commission, that is marketed by some of the best in the world in terms of oversight. The pundits have no argument that sports betting would seamlessly fit into the regulatory and associated administrative process off the CCC. What's more imagine the significant positive effect this would have on the Atlantic City Travel market and the Atlantic City Vacation market. The numbers are very clear. Las Vegas sports books account for a considerable percentage of total gambling and the associated statistics that account for an increase in hotel stays and greater visitation make an incredible argument for the merits of legalizing it in Atlantic City.
All told the time is now and the time for debate is over. The time has come to start coming up with options that are not conventional, to critically look at how things are being decided and enact solutions that balance both the common good and do so in a timely manner. The question of whether or not to legalize sports betting in Atlantic City is a resounding yes with extreme prejudice. Let's just get it done.
One politician in the area has been a big advocate for such legislation and his name is Jeff Van Drew. The following phone number is to his office in Cape May Court House and is (609) 465-0700 and his fax is (609)465-4578.
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