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Casino Gaming

Allowing Casino Employees to Stand for Office

   I still grapple with the question, “Should casino employees be able to stand for political office?”

   The state constitution was amended about thirty years ago.   That amendment was the provision for legalizing gambling in Atlantic City.   There was a long and contentious effort to legalize gambling in Atlantic City.   Not only was gambling legalize through the constitutional amendment, but a monopoly was legalized.   Only Atlantic City can have gambling in the state of New Jersey.  

   There has to be certain criteria met before a casino license will be granted.   There is a regulation to build a certain number of hotel rooms to qualify as a legal casino.   This requirement has prevented bar, restaurant, and other establishments from enjoying slot machine or table game revenues.  

   There is always a delicate balance between federal and state powers.   There is also a balance of interests and rights when government “legalizes” a previously “illegal” activity.   I still cannot help scoffing at those who still consider the many card games taking place in pre-casino Atlantic City clubs to be wrong, but the modern day poker rooms are ok.  

gambling(Photo credit – http://www.peoplejam.com/files/u151/gambling.gif)

It was wrong for guys to run the numbers, but ok for state government to reap profits from a lottery.

   Back to the point, casino employees do forfeit their right to stand for elected office by accepting employment in casino gaming.   I am beginning to share the opinion that casino employees should enjoy the same rights as other citizens to participate politically.   One person who has swayed my opinion is Roger Gros.   He blogs:

By continuing to prohibit casino employees and executives from running for the office of mayor (limiting their service to City Council positions), the bill is yet another slap in the face to people who have been given the most stringent oversight by the state government when they are granted casino licenses. To prevent them from running for mayor (or governor or state legislator, for that matter), the state is telling casino employees that they are not trustworthy enough to fill those positions! Does the state prohibit New Brunswick executives with drug companies located there from running for governor? Are tourism employees prevented from holding the mayor’s office in Cape May? NO! There is no difference, as a one-industry towns, between Atlantic City and those two examples.

    One little point prevents me from enthusiastically joining Mr. Gros’s cause.   The casino gaming legislation has granted Atlantic City casino operators a legalized monopoly and hindered the rights of other New Jerseyans.   The constitution not only discriminates against casino employees, but also owners of smaller establishments, and developers in other towns.   One may argue that that is the way the people of New Jersey wanted it, i.e. contained to large facilities in one town.   But I say that if the people of New Jersey wanted to structure casino gaming so as to deny liberty and justice for all, so be it. 

   Enough of the spoonfuls of liberty.   Either have the laws reflect equally for all, or enjoy your legalized monopoly and stop complaining.


(Photo credit – http://www.firstpeople.us/pictures/art/odd-sizes/pt/Gambling-For-The-Buck-750×957.jpg)


About Jesse O. Kurtz

I am committed to fulfilling the promise of Atlantic City. The town would benefit from greater political participation by average citizens. Hopefully, some of the posts herein will encourage you to get more involved in your community. This blog will also feature other topics and subjects beyond Atlantic City. I hope that you will come to love Atlantic City as much, or more than I do.


2 thoughts on “Allowing Casino Employees to Stand for Office

  1. When the people of New Jersey approved casino gaming for Atlantic City in 1976, it was for ONLY Atlantic City. Two years before, they had turned down a similar amendment that would have permitted gaming anywhere in NJ with local approval. They clearly wanted to limit it to AC. But what they did NOT approve was the removal of the right of political participation by casino employees. This was added by the legislature when the Casino Control Act was crafted, and may have been prudent at the time, given the fact no one knew how gaming would work. Remember, only Nevada had gaming at that time and it was still notoriously corrupt. But now, after 30 years, to prohibit casino employees and executives from participating in politics is wrong and needs to be changed.

    Posted by dave202 | December 12, 2008, 2:11 pm
  2. Jesse,

    I too am very sceptical with regards to allowing casino employees to hold elected office. I feel it is much to ripe for abuse. When one chooses to pursue a career in a Casino they know that they have chosen to work in a smoking enviorment and will not have the opportunity to hold public office, in Atlantic City. They are, however, welcome to serve the public in a County, State or other local municipality and should take the opportunity to do so.

    Posted by Carol Ruffu | December 16, 2008, 3:25 pm

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