The second session of the legislative summit on gaming in the State of New Jersey has been held and for once, it was a good day for racing. From what has been reported, it is safe to assume there will be racing next year at the Meadowlands (as well as Freehold). While Governor Christie may be willing to pull the plug on horse racing, clearly the Democratic legislators are unwilling to do so as they have pledged their support for horse racing in the state. Hence, I don't see the NJSEA getting out of the horse racing industry anytime soon.
That being said, racing at the Meadowlands will look different than this year. At this point, there does not look like there will be subsidies available so the racing calendar will be greatly reduced at the Meadowlands and most likely at Freehold in order to maintain purses. Tom Luchento of the Standardbred Owners Association of New Jersey indicated their desire to schedule a 100 day meet at the Meadowlands.
One thing has become clearer as a result of this second session. The Hanson Report is severely flawed as it did not consider the 'soft' dollar benefit of racing to the New Jersey economy as Dr. Karyn Malinowski, Director of the Rutgers Equine Science Center, who performed a study on the economic impact of horse racing in the state testified that she was never asked to appear in front of the Hanson committee, once again adding credence that the conclusion of the report with respect to racing was predetermined.
This video, produced by the SBOANJ basically outlines what the Hanson Committee never considered.
While many people called for the introduction of VLTs to the Meadowlands, it still appears to be a dead issue for the near future. There was one interesting proposal regarding VLTs; that was to allow VLTs at the Meadowlands during the week to meet the needs of the day tripper and having them closed on weekends so Atlantic City would not have in-state competition for the weekend players; those likely to spend an extended amount of time playing casino games.
At this point I expect some legislative changes to make it easier for tracks to open OTWs to provide a revenue source for racetracks. At present, if a track wishes to open an OTW, a town can just say 'No' and it is stopped. My suspicion is the law will be changed to remove the veto power local municipalities have over OTWs. If it meets the local zoning laws, a municipality will be unable to block an OTW from opening. The legalization of exchange wagering is also possible though I suspect there may be some federal issue involved if they want to allow participation in the exchange wagering system from out of state gamblers.