For photos from the Meadowlands contact

Friday, July 23, 2010

Finley Reads the Tea Leaves

Racing writer Bill Finley reads the tea leaves perfectly when it comes to the Hanson Report.  The state wants out of the horse racing business (though they are going to keep their account wagering and OTW network), and while Finley indicates that is fair enough, the treatment racing in the report is wrong.

The report is all about giving Atlantic City casino interests what they want.  No ideas on how to improve horse racing in the state; just wipe their hands clean of it.  Monmouth Park?  Sell or lease and let someone else pay the bills and if they fail and go out of business, so be it.  The Meadowlands?  We will let you lease it for three years and then you need to get out and build your own track or race at Monmouth (if the new operator will let you).    We need you out of the Meadowlands so when the great Atlantic City experiment fails (or not), we can hand over the Meadowlands to the casino interests and let them develop casinos there without cutting the racing industry in for a share.  Quite simply, its pay to play (something perfected in New Jersey) at its finest.

No doubt the government has the right not to run a racetrack.  That doesn't give them the right to just cut it loose, with all the jobs, green space, and revenue it provides the state.  After all, the vast majority of the participants in the equine-related industries in New Jersey are residents of the state; people who pay taxes.  Perhaps if they were millionaires, Christie would have had this commission treat them better.

Christie says the people in North Jersey need to stop being parochial and realize the importance of the casino industry to South Jersey.  Shame it doesn't work both ways.  South Jersey doesn't need to worry about the importance of the equine and horse racing industry in North and Central Jersey.  They have the cash. 

You can read Finley's complete article here.   


The_Knight_Sky said...

Mr. Finley is spot on.

a) Casinos cannot possibly be allowed to proliferate in North Jersey. Not under the promise that it would set the Xanadu project right again.

b) Atlantic City will never acheive its potential as a resort area. Not with Delaware, Pennsylvania and New York having entrenched themselves with both gaming and horse racing.

Pacingguy said...

Let's say they can get Atlantic City straightened out. All and great for the people looking to spend a long weekend or a week. Do you really think people in Northern NJ are going to go to Atlantic City when they are looking for a gambling opportunity for a day? No way, they are heading to PA or NY.

What do you think is going to happen when Yonkers gets table games (within three years, my guess)? Even more people will be heading to NY. By then, they will have the horses out of the Meadowlands and then NJ will build a casino there; without sharing with horse racing.

Scott Jeffreys said...

Dear Pacingguy : Some very interesting comments and a nice read on the situation over the next three years with Yonkers. Here are some other thoughts without more research as yet.

[1] Why would Penn National not consider dumping the Freehold investment, sell the land for development, and take their bet on the Meadowlands?

[2] One has to think that Jeff Gural must be working on some New Jersey discussions.

[3] BetFair has been looking for yet another entry into the US market after the puchase of TVG. With favorable talk about exchange wagering starting to gain a whisper-level amount of noise, could Betfair play in a favorable New Jersey market?

[4] What is Maureen Gallagher-Bugdon thinking about at Atlantic City Race Course? Opportunity for growth or another problem to handle?

Sincerely, Scott Jeffreys

Pacingguy said...


PNG is primarily a gaming company. I can see them buying Freehold, but with Christie seemingly ready to freeze racing out of casino action, I don't see them taking a position in East Rutherford.

I can see Jeff getting involved in a save the Meadowlands group, but not a lead roll.

Not sure of Betfair but I don't think they want to own a physical plant.

Regarding ACRC, I always thought that would be a compromise to keep supplement money going. If not for the grandstand condition, I could see the SBOANJ trying to lease the track as the expense of leasing it would probably be less than the Meadowlands. However, I don't think Greenwood Racing (owner of ACRC and Philly Park) would want to hand over the simulcast revenue they earn during a harness meet.