Jersey’s top regulator up for new term

Jun 12, 2007 4:26 AM

New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine last week nominated the head of the New Jersey Casino Control Commission to a new five-year term overseeing Atlantic City’s $5.2 billion gaming industry.

Linda M. Kassekert, who was originally appointed in 2002 to oversee the five-member board, must be confirmed by the state Senate. Her current term expires Aug. 4.

The Casino Control Commission serves as the regulatory body for Atlantic City’s 11 casinos.

In Kassekert’s first term, her most demanding issue was handling the three-day casino shutdown last July caused by New Jersey’s state budget crisis.

In the months ahead, Kassekert will oversee the commission in a crucial hearing for MGM Mirage, which is partnering with the eldest daughter of Asian billionaire Stanley Ho for a new casino in Macau.

Nevada regulators okayed the deal earlier this year.

In New Jersey, however, critics have argued that regulators should block MGM’s venture with Pansy Ho because of her father’s alleged ties to Asian organized crime.

MGM must win New Jersey’s approval for the Macau partnership because the company holds a New Jersey gaming license.

In another big licensing case likely to be heard this year, the commission will consider the proposed $17.1 billion buyout of Harrah’s Entertainment Inc., owner of four Atlantic City casinos, by private equity firms Apollo Management and Texas Pacific Group.