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10 N.J.A.R. 244

Resorts International Hotel, Inc., In the Matter of the Application for a Casino License
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Citation: 10 N.J.A.R. 244
Decision Date: 1979
Agency: CASINO CONTROL COMMISSION
Synopsis: Resorts International Hotel, Inc. applied to the Casino Control Commission for a casino license. A hearing was conducted and the Commission determined that Resorts had established by clear and convincing evidence that it qualified for the requested license. N.J.S.A. 5:12-84, -85(c), -86 and -89. Before announcing its decision, the Commission stated several procedural policies to be followed and elaborated on some of the statutory requirements for licensure. First, the issue of evidence was discussed. The Commission may base factual findings on any credible evidence, including hearsay if it is the sort of evidence upon which responsible persons are accustomed to rely in the conduct of serious affairs. However, hearsay should not be the sole basis of a finding if the source was not available for cross-examination and such cross-examination would have been necessary for full disclosure of the asserted fact. Second, the 'clear and convincing prooff' standard was to be applied in determining whether the affirmative requirements of section 84 and 89(b) (2) had been met. However, in considering disqualifying criteria under section 86, the existence of a disqualification must be shown by a preponderance of the evidence. The preponderance standard is a lesser requirement than clear and convincing evidence. Third, the Commission discussed the affirmative criteria to be established pursuant to sections 84 and 89: financial stability, integrity and responsibility; good character, honesty and integrity; sufficient business ability and casino experience. Regarding good character, the Commission may consider reputation as well as an individual's business, professional and personal associates, but such evidence is not conclusive in itself. Finally, the Commission examined the disqualifying criteria of section 86. These include: failure to provide required information; conviction or commission of criminal offenses or current prosecution for disqualifying criminal conduct; pursuit of economic gain in violation of State policy; membership in or association with career offender cartels; and contumacious defiance of investigative bodies. Regarding criminal offenses, the Commission considers the law of the time and place where the act was done to determine whether it constituted an offense. If not, no disqualification arises, even if such conduct would constitute a disqualifying offense under New Jersey law. Offenses are disqualifying if they are listed in section 86(c) or if they indicate that licensure would be inimical to the policies of the Casino Control Act. Regarding inimical offenses, the Commission must consider the circumstances of each case. Generally, prohibited conduct would involve acts that undermine public confidence in casino regulation or enhance the possibility that undesirable practices may occur. The Commission considered evidence of questionable conduct by Resorts, most of which involved the company's casino operations in the Bahamas. Nothing was found to require an adverse finding on the applicant's qualifications. In addition, 23 individuals associated with Resorts who were required to be qualified pursuant to sections 84 and 89(b) (2) were found to be qualified. In determining to grant the license, the Commission noted three key factors: (1) no evidence of organized criminal involvement; (2) all sources of funding were cleared as to integrity, and (3) with experience gained during nine months of operation under a temporary license issued by the Commission, Resorts was found to be operating a well-controlled casino.
Statute(s) Cited: 5:12-82c(2) 5:12-84 5:12-84c 5:12-85c 5:12-85d 5:12-86 5:12-86f 5:12-89 5:12-89b(2)