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.