As a result of Governor Christie's transition team's report on gaming and racing, the Governor issued Executive Order 11 which establishes a seven person commission to review what should happen to the NJSEA. This committee is to report back to the Governor with their findings no later than June 30th. As Governor Christie indicated in his press conference discussing the new executive order, the Meadowlands is the most valuable piece of property in New Jersey and he was not going to let any one special interest determine how to best utilize the property. In the same executive order authorizing the new commission to look into what should happen to the NJSEA and the Meadowlands site, Christie has charged the blue ribbon panel former Governor Corzine established to determine a way for racing to be 'self-substaining' (no subsidy). This committee has until April 1st to report back to the Governor at which time the committee will be dissolved.
This new executive order clearly indicates the transition team's report on racing is not being dismissed by the Governor. The Governor appears to be sticking to his commitment of no slot machines in the Meadowlands, and no casino purse subsidies as well.
While it is only February, it is certainly starting to look like racing in New Jersey is going to be a totally different looking product in 2011. Horsemen may very well be faced with sticking to the requirement to race the number of days they currently are racing for and finding themselves racing for perhaps less than half the money they are racing for now, or cutting their race days and race with a 25% purse cut. I realize horsemen will be continuing to fight for VLTs and/or subsidies but if they fail, hopefully they will realize it is in their best interest to race less days for more money; it would be best for the industry on the whole.
In other news, the NJRC has revoked the licenses of those involved with the current David Brooks fiasco. Hopefully, other states will follow.