McGreevey signs law easing some US casino rules
By Linda
Casino regulations will be streamlined under a law signed Wednesday by Governor McGreevey.

'This legislation ensures the competitiveness of Atlantic City and the New Jersey gaming industry,' McGreevey said at a bill-signing ceremony. 'More importantly, the law streamlines the casino industry regulations to ensure accountability while lessening cumbersome bureaucratic red tape.'

Sponsors say the new law will speed the regulatory process without affecting the integrity of the industry.

The law gives casinos five more years to make mandatory contributions to a fund for projects both in Atlantic City and statewide. It also loosens or eliminates many regulations the industry found onerous.

The new law, sponsored by Sen. William L. Gormley, R-Atlantic, and Democratic Senate President Richard J. Codey, D-Essex, also makes the following changes to existing regulations:

 Anyone younger than 21 caught gambling or drinking faces a fine of $500 to $1,000 and a six-month driver's license suspension.

 Gamblers may cash personal checks for as much as $5,000, up from $200.

 Casino servers can specifically ask gamblers if they would like a cocktail.

 Penalties for writing bad checks are clarified.

 The ability to regulate the amount of complimentary items that casinos give to patrons is removed.

The law also lets casinos serve drinks in bottles.

Executives with the Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa, the billion-dollar casino scheduled to open next summer, pushed for the change, which they say makes beverage service in the resort consistent with other gaming jurisdictions.

A portion of the bill that would have allowed casinos to set new rules for money handling, accounting, and gaming security before a review by the Casino Control Commission was removed by amendment.

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