The spending efforts of gaming groups and casinos were more than doubled for lobbying purposes in the period from 2009 to 2010 as they flexed their muscles to yield whatever influence they could over the legislations which came last year for deregulating the gaming industry while also bringing the control of the state along with investment to Atlantic City.
The Election Law Enforcement Commission released a report on Wednesday which shows that a total of more than $1.2 million was spent by gambling corporations on paying in house lobbyists and lobbying firms in the year 2010 which was almost the double of $555,000 which was spent on similar purposes in the previous year. However, this didn’t account for much more than a small portion of the $65.6 million which was spent for lobbying in New Jersey last year, a record high and 14% improvement over the year before that.
In comparison to that, a sum of $6.9 million was spent by The New Jersey Education Association from which $6.6 million were spent on advertisements which included radio, television and print medium ads.
This considerable increase in the expenditure on lobbying for gambling in the last year signifies that the gaming corporations are becoming increasingly more involved in legislative processes as the officials are considering some dramatic reforms in the way gambling activities in the state are regulated.
Jeff Brindle, Executive Director of ELEC, says that he did not consider it improper for gambling industries to spend the amounts of money that they did on trying to influence legislations as it is a right given by the first amendment, however he stressed on the importance of the public being aware of that influence. He emphasized on the importance of transparency in the functioning of the government for securing the trust of the public.
The increased spending on lobbying efforts seemed natural and expected to the state officials as well, citing the several key changes which have come up or are about to in the laws regarding gambling in the state and they called these efforts as more of educational outreach than efforts by special interest groups of trying to influence decisions.