For photos from the Meadowlands contact

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Next California Threat

Legislation has been proposed to allow online poker in the Golden State.  As with anything to do with gaming in California, there are two bills proposed which would allow online poker rooms for Indian tribes, barring racetracks from participating

Why not put a stake through the hearts of quarter horse, standardbred, and thoroughbred tracks and get it over with once and for all?

I understand currently the deal in California allows only casinos run by Indian tribes, leaving horse racing at a complete disadvantage when it comes to providing sources of alternative revenue to keep their operations going.  The tracks recognize it will be a cold day in hell before they will be allowed to operate a slot machine which would benefit racing.  They deal with screwed up laws that limit the number of races they may import while ADWs are allowed unlimited simulcasting.  The harness horsemen accept the fact they have to pay fees for encroaching on Los Alamitos territory despite the fact the two tracks are 400 miles apart.  But there is no reason to allow the Indian tribes another form of alternative gaming and keep racetracks from participating in it.

I am not sure how much California tracks would benefit from online gaming, it's not the point.  The fact is should online poker come to California tracks, the Indian casinos will still have an advantage over the tracks as they offer traditional casino games and I imagine should this bill or a future bill propose online casino games besides poker, it would be restricted to the Indian operations.  How much pain and inequity should California racetracks of all breeds have to suffer due to deals the state of California made with the Indian Nations?

The time has come to give racetracks some assistance.  Online poker is not a magic bullet for what ails racing, but it will help steady the divide between the casinos and horse racing.  If horse racing is not given the option of operating online poker rooms, then the casinos should not be allowed it.

Meanwhile in New Jersey, horsemen through out the state are getting giddy in that Senate President John Sweeney and Governor Christie are finally talking about a casino in North Jersey, assuming logically it would come to the Meadowlands sports complex under the operation of Jeff Gural.  Hold on.  While I am certain a casino will come to North Jersey, there are plenty of players interested in operating a casino and while logically, connecting a casino with the Meadowlands makes sense, this is New Jersey, where logic doesn't always hold; typically political dealings and campaign cash rules.  In today's article,   John Brennan lists the players within the Sports Complex footprint who may be interested in operating a casino.

Yes, if the state gives the casino license to someone else, the state would be on the hook for $100 million to reimburse Jeff Gural for the construction of the new grandstand.  While $100 million is not pocket change, when considering what the state would make in revenue, it may be money well spent by the state, especially if those with deep pockets have their say.  Horse racing interests in New Jersey must remain vigilant and not fall asleep at the wheel because that nap could result in someone else grabbing the license.

No comments: