For photos from the Meadowlands contact

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Latest Threat to Racing

With the Justice Department indicating intra-state Internet gambling is not in violation of the Federal Wire Act, expect many funds-depleted states to introduce online poker, other gambling games, and the lottery on the Internet for their own state residents.  As long as these games do not involve gambling on sports events (horse racing, greyhound racing are exemptions to the act), states are free to offer Internet gaming.

Obviously, this is not good for horse racing.  State residents will be able to play poker, mindless casino games, and purchase lottery tickets over the Internet, giving gamblers another option over studying a program and wagering on a comparatively glacial-paced horse racing product.  Expect more discretionary funds directed to these online games instead of horse racing.

Where possible, horse racing should attempt to get into the online gaming action by offering historical racing as part of the games about to be offered over the Internet.  With these races being historical, they will be able to be played at a much faster pace than live racing action.  The proceeds of these races should go to the racing industry, after paying their respective states the appropriate licensing fees.

In New Jersey, State Senator Raymond Lesniak is seeing if he can fast track online gaming through the state legislature by the end of the current session which ends next Monday.  His hope is to get his legislation through sub-committees this week and then voted on by the Assembly and Senate and on Christie's desk for his signature next week.  Unfortunately, I see two problems with this bill.  First, the state constitution allows for casino gambling in Atlantic City only.  Does having the servers in Atlantic City satisfy this constitutional requirement?  I would anticipate if not the governor, some other group would challenge the legality of the legislation.  The other problem is as part of the licensing fee, Lesniak wants the casino industry to subsidize purses $20 million for three years as part of their licensing fee.  Would Governor Christie, who has been clear regarding supplements, bend on this provision or will he veto the legislation once again?  Update: The bill is being delayed until the next session and as is his mantra, Goveror Christie reportedly does not want any money going to horse racing and Senator Lesniak is reported willing to give up that part of the bill..

One thing is clear.  Unless racing does something to speed up the game and reduce takeout rates to make horse racing a legitimate alternative to online gaming, a lot of discretionary gambling spending will be going anywhere but to racing.

Case Under the reports that it will not be a walk in the park for Walter Case Jr. to regain his license to drive in several racing states.  For example, in New Jersey, Case's entire body of work in his career will be reviewed before he were to be issued a license and it has been noted that he was denied before.  Hopefully, the racing commission will consider his time outside of racing and his 'reformation'.  Now, I am not suggesting he be given a full license to drive; there are consequences for his prior behavior; a probationary license with mandatory drug testing should be a condition of re-licensing.  However, I do believe he should be given the ability to show he has reformed his ways.

No comments: