Legislative Democrats have released their plan to save both New Jersey Racing and the Atlantic City Casino industry. The Democrats plan to introduce the enacting legislation by November 8. Needless to say, there will be no slots or purse subsidies for the racing industry.
Among the things the plan calls for a referndum to all the introduction of intrastate Internet wagering at racetracks and the state overseeing through the Casino Redevelopment Agency the Atlantic City gaming district. In addition, the plan calls for a referendum to allow sports wagering in New Jersey which would go into effect should the federal ban is overturned or repealed.
With regards to the Meadowlands and Monmouth Park, the plan calls for the streamlining of operations at the two tracks to reduce expenses and the introduction of new wagers including exchange wagering and more 'single pool' wagers, and the build out of the state OTW network to bring additional revenue to the racetracks.
As for the breeding side of the racing industry, the plan calls for the enhancement of the New Jersey Sires Stakes and Breeding Development Programs to entice breeders to remain in the state.
Based on these proposals, it appears racing is going to have to live off the money wagered on the races as there will be no source of revenue for enhancing purses. As a result, both Monmouth and the Meadowlands will be forced to race 'elite' meets or race longer meets with substandard purses. There is no doubt the runners will remain with the elite meet format which was successful for them but the standardbred interests have some serious decisions to make. Either race a 100 day meet with good purses or race 141 days as some people want and have smaller purses and inferior racing.
Is this the legislative proposal horse racing interests wanted? Absolutely not, but the reality is this is likely the best deal they can get at this time. More importantly, it buys them time and keeps them around when the inevitable casino is built in the Meadowlands.
Of course, all this depends on the acceptance of these proposals by the Christie administration (no sure thing) as the Democrats lack the votes necessary to override a potential veto. This means while there will be racing at the Meadowlands next year, it still remains to be seen what kind of racing it will be. Keep tuned.