One Meadowlands Racetrack Union Imperils Deal to Save Standardbred Racing

Governor Expresses Grave Concern Over Union Inaction and Consequences

Trenton, NJ – Governor Chris Christie today called Thursday’s inaction by the union representing the mutuel clerks at Meadowlands Racetrack on a proposal from prospective track operator Jeff Gural a potentially fatal obstacle to continuing racing operations at the East Rutherford facility.


In the face of unsustainable racetrack losses, and the recognition that jobs and livelihoods could nonetheless be saved, substantial progress had been made to save standardbred racing in negotiations with Mr. Gural. That progress included the overwhelming acceptance by another racetrack union of new contract provisions.  


Said Governor Christie: “Apparently, one group has decided on its own to put at risk the livelihoods of many others. We were patient and accommodating, but these deadlines for achieving self-sustaining horse racing are very real.  This is an unfortunate outcome to say the least.” 


The failure of Local 137 to vote will trigger the following consequences, which Local 137 was keenly aware would occur: Live racing at the Meadowlands Racetrack will not resume on May 7 as previously scheduled. Meadowlands simulcasting will cease as of May 12. Racetrack employees were issued notices March 8 of potential layoffs as required by law, and absent a vote by Local 137, those layoffs will commence on May 12, the first date for which the legal cessation of all operations at the racetrack can now occur.


Posted: April 15th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Chris Christie, Horse Racing Industry, Press Release | Tags: , , | 7 Comments »

7 Comments on “One Meadowlands Racetrack Union Imperils Deal to Save Standardbred Racing”

  1. Overtaxed said at 9:35 am on April 16th, 2011:

    Why is the State of New Jersey subsidizing horse racing?

  2. Joseph Irace said at 12:32 pm on April 16th, 2011:

    The state doesn’t subsidize horse racing. The casinos do. The deal that was in place was to provide money for the racetracks so they wouldn’t seek VLT’s or slot machines in the Meadowlands. the money comes from a tax on room comps. That money will now be given back to the casino NOT the taxpayers of New Jersey.

    New Jersey stands to lose $780 million of economic impact annually, 7,000 jobs, $110 million in federal, state and local taxes, and 57,000 acres of working agricultural landscape and open space should the racetracks close.

    A better question would be why is the State subsidizing for profit companies in Atlantic City?

  3. Larry Russlin said at 1:48 pm on April 16th, 2011:


    You’re correct about subsidizes received; however the businesses themselves run in the red. The salaries and cost of operations are paid the state which is in fact funded by tax payer dollars. Obviously, if the tracks where able produce a profit, the state would be foolish to consider leasing or closing the venues. It’s the negative figure on the balance sheet that the governor is referring to not the money from the casinos.

  4. TR said at 2:52 pm on April 16th, 2011:

    Niether should be subsidized.
    In fact no business should be subsidized by the government unless it is for national security reasons. I would hate to see horse racing disappear but if it does so be it.
    I would be in favor of some deregulation.

  5. TheDigger said at 4:31 pm on April 16th, 2011:

    Why does the State (read you and me) subsidize anyone? Corporate welfare?

    Taxed Enough Already.

  6. Joseph Irace said at 7:35 pm on April 16th, 2011:

    You are correct Larry.

    The State has squandered the money made at Monmouth and The Meadowlands for years. The tracks were prfitable for the State until only the last few years. In fact, the NJSEA’s own website shows that New Jersey taxpayers have benefitted to the tune of a staggering $650 million in direct receipts from the Meadowlands Sports Complex and Monmouth Park since their inception in 1976 and 1985.

    Let’s privatize the tracks with owners who are willing to do what it takes to makethem successful.

    A casino at the Meadowlands can also be used to not only save racing but put much needed money in the coffers on the State. All the surrounding States now have some form of gaming at the tracks. This creates an uneven playing field for our horsemen.

  7. Am for said at 1:12 pm on April 18th, 2011:

    privatizing the tracks, am also for putting in slots at them, and slots at the AC airport, like in Las Vegas, and am for legalizing sports betting, to help increase traffic in the casinos.. the problem is, once we legalize ( read, state takes a decent-sized revenue cut) more of these “sins”, etc., and, while we’re at it, let’s consolidate more towns/ school districts, share more services, on and on: THEN what do we do when the largely lib legislature just goes on, like the Feds, and spends it all on even MORE damn programs-for-votes??. let’s see once every possible revenue source is squandered, (oh, I forgot, add on another 7 cents gas tax to its near 4 bucks, now, to supposedly “create jobs” and “fix the infrastructure”:) THEN what will their excuse be?.. ” severe need”?? ..it HAS to stop..on all levels..period..we need far more candidates who get this concept, and are personally brave enough to risk not being re-elected, to finally do the right things, to give the ever-decreasing number of actual taxpayers,all a break!