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New Jersey Lays Off 115 Casino Inspectors

4 February 2011 by admin

chris-christie3While most in the industry are still waiting to see if New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signs the online gambling bill (which I expect), there is other news coming out of the Garden State. Back on January 11, New Jersey passed an Atlantic City reform package, which was signed by Christie on Monday. As a result, 115 casino inspectors will lose their jobs.

Wednesday the state of New Jersey sent layoff notices to 115 of the 144 casino regulators working for the Casino Control Commission. The reform package takes a lot of the duties previously assigned to the CCC and hands them over to the state’s Division of Gaming Enforcement. Since the DGE has their own casino inspectors, those working for the CCC were a redundancy the taxpayers didn’t need to pay for, according to Christie.

The changes in regulatory framework, which allow more room for the casinos to operate with less government oversight, are designed to save Atlantic City casinos millions of dollars and provide a boost to the nation’s second-largest casino industry. Aside from saving taxpayer money, the financial savings are aimed at making the casinos more profitable, which will not only help the casinos directly, but will also encourage private investment.

For the past 30 years, inspectors from the Casino Control Commission were required by law to have a physical presence on the casino floor. Customers could see the inspectors walking the floor and if they had any complaints, they could talk to them directly. With those positions now eliminated, customers who want to complain to regulators will have to call the Division of Gaming Enforcement at a number provided by the casino or fill out a form that the casino provides. These changes make Atlantic City’s regulations more like those in other states.

More cuts to inspectors and other jobs are expected to come soon. Dan Haneghan, a spokesman for the Casino Control Commission, said that they have “had discussions with the Division of Gaming Enforcement regarding the implementation of this new statute.” As more job functions are transferred from the CCC to the DGE, he said, “we will reassess our staffing requirements.”

In other New Jersey news, Christie announced that the state will “invest” $261 million in the construction of the Revel Casino project. That puts the stalled project back on track, but has drawn backlash. One of the groups upset is a local labor union that represents workers at the 11 other Atlantic City casinos. They hate Revel because they tend to (wisely) hire non-union workers. The union, Unite HERE Local 54, has plans to file a lawsuit to stop the construction. In compensation for the $261 million loan, the state of New Jersey will receive 20% of the casino’s profits once it’s running, until that money is repaid.

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