For photos from the Meadowlands contact Lisaphoto@playmeadowlands.com

Monday, September 12, 2011

Misguided Strategy in New Jersey

Those in New Jersey are continuing on their goal to obtain subsidies and alternative gaming.  This is a dead issue.  The current move, approving a state referendum to allow sports gambling in New Jersey, even if approved, will need the United States Supreme Court to declare the current Federal ban on sports gambling unconstitutional.  Senator Lesniak, a friend of racing is reintroducing a bill to allow online poker in New Jersey; a bill previously vetoed by the Governor Christie and unless some change of heart takes place, which the Governor is not known for, will likely be dead on arrival to his desk.  The real pot of gold, alternative gaming not only has to conquer Christie's reluctance to open up Northern New Jersey to a casino, it must also overcome the outright refusal of Senator Sweeney to even let a referendum bill come to the Senate floor.  These are short term goals which will accomplish little.

The most immediate goal of racing should be the 2011 legislative elections.  In these highly partisan days, most Republican candidates are likely to walk in virtual lock-step with Christie until they find the Governor is vulnerable.  If there is a Republican candidate willing to defy Christie on casino gambling, fine.  Otherwise, what should be done is finding Democratic candidates who support racing and support those candidates, whether they are existing legislators or new candidates.  With a new legislative session beginning in 2012, there will be a new elections for House Speaker and Senate President.  Thus, if elected officials could be convinced to vote for a new Senate President, the possibility of these bills proposed to allow casino gambling at the Meadowlands at least get a vote in the Senate and hopefully approved.  It is important to all New Jerseyans to see Governor Christie knock down or approve a casino in the North.  As New York looks to implement full casinos in the state, the Governor will be hard pressed to deny a referendum for a racino at the Meadowlands.

Working with the same cast of characters in leadership positions is unlikely to result in change.  What is needed is to change the cast of players who preesently can lock pro-racing legislsation from every seeing their day in the sunshine.