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(TRENTON) – Legislation Assembly Democrats John J. Burzichelli, John F. McKeon, Connie Wagner and Valerie Vainieri Huttle sponsored to help New Jersey’s horse racing industry continue to create jobs and economic development was approved Thursday by the Assembly.
The bills would expand off track wagering and simulcasting, reduce the required racing dates at the Meadowlands and Freehold tracks to create bigger events and allow the state to jointly run racetrack operations with a racetrack lessee during a transition period, as has been proposed at the Meadowlands.
“These bills all share one single goal – enhancing our horse racing industry to allow it to continue creating jobs and economic development throughout our state for years to come,” said Burzichelli (D-Gloucester/Salem/Cumberland). “We’ve taken many steps in the past year to improve our horse racing industry, and these bills represent another step toward keeping it strong.”
“A strong horse racing industry is vital for New Jersey’s economy,” said McKeon (D-Essex). “We must ensure its survival. Simple steps like these can help ensure this industry remains viable for years to come and modern-enough to meet the challenges ahead.”
“The horse racing industry is too important to the economies of communities throughout our state, but especially Bergen County, to let it waste away,” said Wagner (D-Bergen). “We have a long way to go to ensure its success, but these bills represent our continued commitment to making it strong and productive for years ahead.”
“We need a strong horse racing industry if we’re going to have a strong economy,” said Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen). “It’s too important to many industries and communities, from Bergen County to elsewhere, and it needs our support.”
The bills would:
· Permit wagers to be placed at racetracks or casino simulcasting facilities in advance for races not simulcast at the facility, if the race is simulcast at other facilities in the state (A-2513). It’s sponsored by McKeon. It was approved 77-0, giving it final legislative approval.
· Permit the standardbred permit holder at the Meadowlands Racetrack to decrease the annually required minimum number of scheduled standardbred race dates from no fewer than 141 to no fewer than 75, upon written consent from the Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association of New Jersey. The bill also permits the standardbred permit holder at Freehold Raceway to decrease the annually required minimum number of scheduled standardbred race dates from 168 to no fewer than 75 upon written consent from association (A-3511). It’s sponsored by Burzichelli, Wagner and Vainieri Huttle. It was approved 75-0.
· Provide the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority with the power to jointly run racetrack operations with a racetrack lessee during a transitionary period (A-3710). It’s sponsored by Burzichelli and was approved 76-0.
Other horse racing-related bills recently acted upon by the Legislature include:
· Propose a constitutional amendment authorizing the Legislature by law to allow wagering at Atlantic City casinos and at horse racetracks on sports events (ACR-167). It goes voters in November 2011 election.
· Authorize exchange wagering on results of in-state and out-of-state horse races. Exchange wagering is defined as a form of betting in which two or more persons place directly opposing wagers on the outcome of a horse race (A-2926). It has final legislative approval.
· Permit racetrack permit holders to provide for a single pari-mutuel pool for each running or harness horse race (A-3200). It has final legislative approval.
· Authorize Internet account wagering for residents outside New Jersey on in-state horse races (A-3498). It was approved by the Assembly.
· Establish a special dedicated fund in the Department of Law and Public Safety to provide incentives for the breeding and development of racehorses in this state (A-3531). It has final legislative approval.
· Allow casinos and out-of-state racetracks to negotiate the amount casinos will pay for simulcast races (A-3580). It was approved by the Assembly.