Folks interested in New Jersey sports betting can keep an eye on two key horse racing bills sponsored by Assemblyman Ron Dancer (R-Ocean) that released Monday out of the state’s Assembly Tourism & Gaming Committee.
Both bills (A6024 and A2256) now will go to the Assembly speaker for consideration. The bills will be introduced later this month and a vote will be taken. The Assembly vote is scheduled for Dec. 20.
A6024 is a bill to restore $5 million to the New Jersey Racing Commission’s budget for horse racing purse subsidies. In the 2021 state budget, $5 million was slashed from a $20 million subsidy. This bill is an effort to recoup that money.
“Our racetracks not only provide entertainment, but also thousands of jobs,” Dancer said in a news release. “My bill ensures the purses remain attractive, revenue for racetracks remains stable, and jobs remain in New Jersey.”
Subsidy Down from $30M
There was an annual subsidy of $30 million for the state’s racing industry from Atlantic City casinos.
It came with a condition: Tracks are not permitted to offer slot machines. The subsidy was trimmed 10 years ago in 2011 when Freehold Raceway, Monmouth Park and the Meadowlands were privatized, but the subsidy was partially restored in 2019.
Gov. Phil Murphy (D) and state legislators reached a compromise of $15 million this year.
A2256 is a bill that requires continuation of live horse racing by standardbred racetracks with New Jersey sports wagering licenses. The two tracks, Meadowlands in East Rutherford and Freehold Raceway, also would be required to hold a minimum of 151 standardbred race dates, with limited exceptions.
“The horse racing industry is very important to the state, as it not only provides thousands of jobs but generates millions of dollars in tax revenue while also supporting open space,” Dancer said. “My bill will protect the standardbred racing industry by ensuring live horse racing continues.”
Fixed Odds Coming to New Jersey
Dancer co-sponsored another important horse racing bill with Assemblyman Ralph Caputo in June that would bring fixed odds wagering to New Jersey.
Bill A4909 passed by a vote of 71-0 and was signed by Gov. Phil Murphy.
Fixed odds, a type of horse racing betting which is very popular in Australia and England, has yet to be implemented in the Garden State. But it figures to be in 2022. Most likely that would occur at Monmouth Park in Oceanport, home of the Haskell Invitational.