ATLANTIC CITY – There was never a real gamble to allow legal sports wagering in New Jersey, as we all have that insatiable thirst for sports and betting, preferably with a beer and a wing. And so there is absolutely no surprise that Atlantic City has shattered its own record, with $445 million wagered on sports last month, the largest total since the first bet was placed last June. Another non-surprise: New Jersey is now licking at the heels of Nevada in terms of who is taking on the most action, basking in glorious football season. The fact that we are suddenly going head-to-head against Vegas is a huge story, especially when Atlantic City appeared on life support just a few short years ago.
FREEHOLD – The price was very, very right for a local man, who won $262,742.97 in cash and spectacular prizes on Monday’s episode of The Price is Right. It was a big shock, especially for those who didn’t know the decades-old game show was still on the air. It was also a big shock because it was the largest haul ever in the history of the show, as part of the annual Big Money Week. Michael Stouber took home the cash, as well as a trip to Fiji, a diamond tennis bracelet and – drum roll, please – A New Car! The show vows to give away up to $3.5 million this week, which will prompt devoted daytime game show watchers to program the VCR, or do whatever it is they do, to not miss a minute of the action.
TRENTON – The state’s Civil Service Commission is issuing extensive regulations that remake how state, county and municipal governments, as well as other public employers, must deal with employees subject to domestic violence. Critics of government bureaucracy often rail against over-regulation, but surely this is one time when new rules can’t be faulted? The employers will be required to give far more assistance than before — in human resource advice, time off, safety measures and, if needed, a modified work schedule. The regulations arise out of legislation signed by former Gov. Chris Christie shortly before he left office in 2018. NJ Spotlight has the story.
AT THE DRIVE-THRU – Beginning in 2020, you may notice a slight increase in the cost of your taco supreme, as the minimum wage in the state will increase a buck, to $11 an hour. Meanwhile, seasonal employees will see their base pay increase to $10.30 an hour, as Gov. Phil Murphy marches toward a $15 minimum wage by 2024. Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo said he applauds his boss’s stellar leadership in enacting the minimum wage law. (What a kiss-up.) Meanwhile, the big question for consumers will be how these ongoing wage increases will affect product costs, as you can’t realistically expect business owners to willingly lose profit margin.
IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS
BEND, OR – At its heyday, Blockbuster Video had more than 9,000 stores. Now, there’s one location, somewhere in Oregon. It was set to close, of course, but has seen an amazing resurgence in customers. No one is interested in the dusty videos that line the walls, but flock to Bend to pay homage to the whole VCR era, when Friday nights were officially “Blockbuster Nights.” So the people keep coming, and they buy, buy, buy all those T-shirts, mugs, hats and other merch. So, now Blockbuster Video is officially a tourist destination, an ideal home to the selfie. So, c’mon down. Maybe, just maybe, you’ll be able to find “Back to the Future III,” in the video return box. Just be kind, rewind.
ALL OVER – And speaking of dying industries, the owner of your local multiplex wants to get into streaming video service. It seems unbelievably counterintuitive for AMC to launch its own streaming service, which allows its members to rent or buy films to watch at home. AMC is partnering with the big studios, like Disney, Warner Bros. and Sony, to offer 2,000 films or so as soon as they are available to all the other competitors like Apple and Amazon. It all makes no sense as AMC’s whole business model is enticing you to the theater, where you can blow $18 on a bucket of popcorn and a jumbo soda, as you watch 45 minutes of sponsor ads and coming attractions. Chasing the same business in the same crowded space seems as sensible as drinking a 60-ounce Coke with “free” refills.
MILAN, IN. – It’s another cold morning on the roof of the Hog Rack Café here, as the proprietor has been living on the roof for 10 days now. He vowed to climb up there on Oct. 6 and stay there, if the winless Cincinnati Bengals could not knock off the winless Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals stole the game 26-23, prompting the guy to grudgingly climb on up and pitch a tent. His bad luck continued last weekend when the Bengals lost to the Baltimore Ravens by six points. He has really high hopes of coming back down this Sunday, when the Bengals try again at home vs. the Jacksonville Jaguars. “Just start playing like a team, get our starters back, the guys that are injured get them back on the field,” the bar owner told WKRC-TV. “You know I think personally if they get back, they'll win.” One question: If the Bengals go winless this season, does he stay up there until next September?
THIS DAY IN HISTORY
“Son, do you spend all your time at college smoking weed?”
“You bet, Dad.”
“Well, keep it up!”
That was the conversation taking place at dinner tables across Michigan on this day in 2017, after Northern Michigan University announced its “medical plant chemistry program” and a new major in marijuana. The Detroit Free Press reports that, yes, that is actually a major at an accredited university, saying students are studying chemistry, biology, botany, horticulture, marketing and finance. Heading off to “cannabis college” gave these students all the tools they needed to grow and sell pot. Defensive university officials said 29 states had legalized medical marijuana, and eight sold recreationally, in 2017, so Northern Michigan was just filling a need. OK?
WORD OF THE DAY
Querulous – [KWAIR-yə-lus] – adjective
Definition: Habitually complaining
Example: So much for a great night out, as the server sat us next to a gaggle of querulous Bengals fans.
WIT OF THE DAY
“No man has a good enough memory to be a successful liar.”
― Abraham Lincoln
“There is no trade war. There is no trade war.”
-Donald J. Trump
WEATHER IN A WORD
THE NEW 60
A Jaffe Briefing Exclusive
by Andy Landorf & John Colquhoun