Those darn 'slot barns'. What Atlantic City casinos used to call racinos, is taking it to Atlantic City and will continue to do so. In a report released Monday, New York's gaming revenue is expected to increase 32% this year as the Aqueduct Racino is scheduled to open and Yonkers Raceway continues to experience growth in it's business (they recently announced plans for a 40,000 square foot addition to their gaming floor.
So how is Atlantic City doing? They lost 41% of their business since 2006 and are forecast to loose an additional 13% of revenue this year. And what is going to happen to when New York allows table games in two or three years?
I've said it before and I will say it again. The casino gambling industry has matured and has become a commodity. There is no reason why people will travel to Atlantic City when they can travel to a local casino, be it a racino or a stand alone casino.
So what does this mean to the Meadowlands? Many people have been saying the casino industry 'owns' the New Jersey government. We may see if this is the case as negotiations towards a lease for the Meadowlands continue. With building a new grandstand in the plans of Jeff Gural, if at least a thirty year lease isn't offered, it is more than likely Gural and company will have to drop their plans to lease the Meadowlands as it will not make economic sense to invest that much money in a new facility for a shorter period of time. It will also show that these negotiations to save racing at the Meadowlands was a sham negotiation from the start on behalf of the New Jersey government.
Of course, if an expansion of casino gaming in the state of New Jersey does occur, there is no assurance it will end up at the Meadowlands. The City of Newark has had a lot of power within the state legislature in recent years and Democratic Mayor Booker has formed an alliance of convenience with Republican Governor Christie, so don't rule out the possibility of a casino showing up in Newark (and possibly Jersey City) instead of the Meadowlands.
Before horsemen count on the inevitability of casino gambling coming to the Meadowlands, remember money sets political agendas be it New Jersey or any other state. If Gural is able to pull off a lease, it is not time to return to the typical pattern of ambivalence and just wait for the slot revenue to show up; it may never come.
Freehold Cuts Purses: Freehold Raceway has announced that starting next week, purse would be cut 15%. It is not known yet if purses will be cut across the board 15% or if it will be an aggregate 15% cut.