CHAIRMAN JAMES: I'd like to hear now and the Commission is prepared to hear from the Honorable Frank LoBiondo, member of the U.S. House of Representatives from New Jersey's Second District.

Please welcome Congressman LoBiondo, and thank you very much for being here today.

MR. LoBIONDO: Well, thank you very much, Madame Chair. Good morning to the Commission, and welcome to Atlantic City. I hope you are enjoying your stay in America's favorite playground.

Thank you for the opportunity to testify this morning before the Commission and to convey to you what we as a community know: that gaming has worked for New Jersey.

You heard it from the Senator. You're hearing it from me. You will hear it over and over again because they are the facts.

Your visit comes during gaming's 20th anniversary, and after 20 years of much hard work by many people in and around the industry, there are exciting things happening worthy of celebration.

We as members of the South Jersey community welcome your on-site inspection of Atlantic City because there is a wonderful story to tell. You will hear over and over again from experts today and tomorrow how the gaming industry in New Jersey has taken people off of welfare, sending men and women to work every day in every county, putting food on the tables of 100,000 people statewide, and allowing some to buy their homes.

You will be told about the casino revenue fund derived directly from New Jersey's eight percent casino tax that has sent billions to the state treasury. That same casino revenue fund supports health care programs for newborns, adult day care, transportation services for seniors and the disabled, and home delivered meals for our elderly, just to name a few.

Chairman Brad Smith will explain why our Casino Control Commission is the toughest regulatory agency of its type in the world, and you'll learn that the crime rate in Atlantic City is relatively lower than before the advent of casinos, and in fact, by some estimates it's lower than the major tourist destination cities in Florida.

Bob Mulcahy of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority will touch upon our horse racing industry in New Jersey, which has an overall annual economic impact of half a billion dollars and supports thousands of jobs.

You may also be made aware that since its inception in 1970, New Jersey's lottery has provided almost $9 billion to the state's fund for public education programs and has given over one billion in commissions to the small business owners that sell lottery tickets.

But there are some people from whom you will not hear, New Jerseyians with an interest in the health of the industry, just as real as any blackjack dealer or casino CEO. I would like to take some of my time to share with you their stories.

Stephen is a 49 year old developmentally disabled and visually handicapped man who has worked at Bally's Park Place for the past 11 years. After working hard for those years and being productive, Stephen last year bought and moved into a condominium in nearly Ventnor.

To hear that, one would think it's the most important part of the story, but it's not. The most important part to Stephen is the respect he has earned from both his co-workers and managers at Bally's. So much so he agreed to their request to sit on an employee grievance council. Stephen is leading an independent and meaningful life.

The success story of gaming does not stop there. A little farther north, Ocean County has a program that provides transportation for the elderly and disabled to various locations. This program receives two-thirds of its funding from the gaming industry.

Helen is an 84 year old woman, uses this service once a week to visit her husband at the Philadelphia Veteran's Hospital where her husband, a World War II veteran, is a long-term patient. With no family in the area, she clearly would have no other way to get to the hospital without the county and gaming industry's help.

Let me also share with you some of the written comments of just a few of the many organizations that wrote in asking to pass along their positive stories about the industry, and I'm only going to use a few, but there are countless numbers that I will be submitting later.

"Prior to the passage of enabling legislation 20 years ago, Atlantic City experienced a decline. However, due to the advent of gaming and the redevelopment funds

"The Atlantic County region is fortunate to have the gaming industry."

And that is by Susan Maven, Board President of Atlantic County United Way.

"The gaming industry has had a positive impact on families that has created a dynamic shift from an economy that flourished between Memorial Day and Labor Day to a 12-month economy which provides employment opportunities for both skilled and unskilled labor market."

And that's from Jerome Johnson, the President and CEO of the Family Service Organization.

"We served 600 Thanksgiving dinners with turkey and fixings donated by the casinos. Claridge Casino backed a truck up to our door and delivered a load of toys. These are just a few of the instances of direct aid to the Salvation Army from the gaming industry."

That's from Charles Coyle, Salvation Army of Atlantic City.

"Since 1992, local casinos have donated over two and one-half million dollars in cash and other support. This support has enabled Youth Build to provide the tools of self-sufficiency and productivity to numbers of Atlantic City young adults. It has led to noticeable improvement of their quality of life and that of the community. None of this would have been likely to happen without the local casino gaming industry."

And that's from Frank Budd, Executive Director of Atlantic City Youth Build.

"All of the jobs created by the casino industry, whether they be chambermaids, chef, croupiers at the Atlantic City casinos, or child care providers, teachers, or nurses who work in the suburbs are the life blood of average, hard working people and the sustenance of their families. They are the jobs that would not exist in anywhere near the numbers they do throughout southern New Jersey without the gaming industry."

And that's from Charles Wowkanech, President of the New Jersey State AFL-CIO.

"I'm happy to report that the good times we are now enjoying are the best in history. We have moved into a warehouse that has four times the capacity of the old location. We have gone from 12 full-time employees to 45. Without casino gambling, this would not be possible."

And that's from David Levy, City Supply Company, Pleasantville, New Jersey, an adjoining community.

"As a result of the stable influx of casino based membership, Hilton Athletic Club has grown to employ a staff of approximately 100."

That's from Samuel Young, President of the Hilton Athletic Club, which is in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey.

I could go on and on with similar sentiments, but I think you get the point. When the word got around that the Commission was coming to town, I started to receive letters from all over the state and from neighboring states as well. I'll submit them for the public record.

You will find that they were sent by, among others, schools, nonprofit public service organizations, small family-owned businesses, local unions and their hard working members, and elected officials at all levels of state government.

Again, I want to thank you for the opportunity to be here today to present this testimony, and my intention has been to illustrate the real life impact of this industry, and I hope that you will appreciate this perspective.

Thank you very much.

CHAIRMAN JAMES: Thank you very much. We appreciate, I know, with what busy schedules your taking the opportunity to come here and share in the important work of this particular Commission. Thank you, and we appreciate your presence.

MR. LoBIONDO: Thank you very much.

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