Horse Racing Out, Quickie Weddings In

The State of New Jersey is setting it self up to to replace the the $780 million that the horse racing industry contributes to the economy, including $115 million in tax revenue, by drawing tourists to the state for quickie weddings.

During his press conference in Trenton yesterday Governor Chris Christie said that Monmouth Park Racetrack would close unless the “completely untrustworthy,” “millionaire” thoroughbred horsemen offer the state acceptable terms to keep the track open within the next week.  

The deal to transfer Monmouth Park from state control to the management of developer and casino investor Morris Bailey apparently fell apart over the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association’s demand that they have the rights to a small number of racing days or receive $5 million for not getting those rights for which they had previously negotitated but the state  later didn’t want to give them.

Christie said, ““I am no longer going to permit millionaire horsemen to take money from waiters and waitresses and police officers and teachers or the taxpayers of this state to fund their industry,” according to The Asbury Park Press.

Those waiters and waitresses can serve food and drink to lovestruck tourists rushing to New Jersey for a quickie weddings.  Down the hall from Christie’s press conference, the Assembly Judiciary Committee was unanimously passing a bill that, if passed by the full Assembly, the Senate and signed by the Governor, will eliminate the 72-hour waiting period for marriage licenses.

The police can take domestic dispute calls involving those tourists who come back to New Jersey within 30 days for the no questions asked annulments that the bill allows.   The teachers can educate the offspring of those marriages, annulled or not, that stay in New Jersey and are not aborted.

The bill, sponsored by Assemblyman Louis Greenwald, D-Norcross, is designed to give New Jersey a competitive edge over neighboring states in attracting couples who want to get married immediately.

A bill to allow Atlantic City casinos to accept bets on the success or failure of new marriages has not been introduced yet.

Posted: December 13th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Horse Racing Industry | Tags: , , , , , , | 13 Comments »

13 Comments on “Horse Racing Out, Quickie Weddings In”

  1. Chris said at 10:54 am on December 13th, 2011:

    If the horse racing industry brings in $780 millions, why does it need state funding? No profitable businesses would need help from the state

  2. Middletown Conservative said at 12:53 pm on December 13th, 2011:

    @Chris – Well said.
    The horse racing industry is dying. No under 60 cares about it. If it can’t make it on its own, let it go.

  3. Joseph Irace said at 12:53 pm on December 13th, 2011:

    From the Rutgers University Equine Science Center:

    New Jersey stands to lose one of its premier agribusiness which generates $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 if racing-related training and breeding farms leave New Jersey. These figures do not include the non-racing segment of the horse industry.

  4. TR said at 1:02 pm on December 13th, 2011:

    Did I just hear our republican Governor engage in class warfare?

    I agree horse racing should not be subsidized but why shouldn’t the Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association’s demand that they have the rights to a small number of racing days?

    Why should the Casino industry be subsidized or protected?

    So many questions so few answers. Instead we get negotiation by bullying.

    The 780 mil is what they generate in the economy not what goes in their pocket.

  5. Chris said at 1:25 pm on December 13th, 2011:

    So it generates $780 million annually. Question should be how much does it consume?

    But if it’s such an economic wonderland, get rid of the state! I guess private companies would be fighting over this, willing to spend 3x or 4x annual revenues to acquire it! Is there a bidding war already?

  6. Warren Lapp said at 7:21 pm on December 13th, 2011:

    For those that think horse racing is dying and that nobody under 60 cares about it… perhaps you should visit Monmouth Park first. The crowd is much younger than 60 and many are families enjoying time in a picnic setting with entertainment available on the track or in the band shell. I proudly own shares of two different New Jersey bred horses and, believe me, I am no millionaire. The sport is fun and when I wander around the barn there is excitement in the air among the riders, trainers, and staff.

    New Jersey needs to follow the lead of every neighbor state and add slots / sports betting and become Racinos. New Jersey is hemorrhaging disposable income into NY, PA, and DE. Privatize the tracks and allow them to attract even more younger affluent patrons with additional games of chance. New Jersey has a rich history in horse racing and the thousands of workers tied to the industry deserve a chance to stay here and work in the industry they love.

  7. TR said at 8:53 pm on December 13th, 2011:

    Chris you and I don’t diagree. The problem is the State wants to keep its fingers in the pie. They want it both ways. If you made a clean break and just cut it loose most Horseman would be happy. Oh and stop protecting an Atlantic City Monopoly that is being shredded by Casinos in Pennsy and NY anyway.

    As far as what it generates you still do not get it. Horse racing does not in and off itself generate that much Income. This includes revenue generated by subsidiary industries like the breeders and the businesses that cater to them. and people it draws who eat in local restuarants.

  8. Bob English said at 9:07 pm on December 13th, 2011:

    Prior to Christie becoming Governor, there had been a deal in place where the casino industry in NJ contributed roughly $15 million yearly towards the horseracing purses in return for the NJ horsetracks not pursuing gambling at their tracks. Christie not only ended that, he will not permit the tracks to offer slot/vlt’s in order to be competive with other surrounding states that do just that. Those states are making hundreds of million of dollars and put a very small part of that towards their horseracing purses which give them a huge advantage over NJ tracks.

    Note that it was the State of NJ which last Friday changed the agreed upon deal at the last minute with Christie than telling the horsemen they had until Monday to agree to a new deal. So before calling the horsemen “untrustworthy” he should be looking in the miror. And if he knew anything about the business, he would know they are not all “millionaire” horsemen.

  9. Middletown Conservative said at 11:25 pm on December 13th, 2011:

    Warren – There aren’t enough people to support the industry otherwise the state wouldn’t have to subsidize with our tax dollars. That’s the point.

  10. Bob English said at 11:27 pm on December 13th, 2011:

    Friends….Please take two minutes to call the Governors office on Wednesday at 609-292-6000. New Jersey horsetracks would be just fine if they could compete with tracks in surrounding states on an even basis.

    As Joe Irace said, 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.

  11. Warren Lapp said at 8:36 am on December 14th, 2011:

    Middletown (and others)… You are not understanding that there won’t be subsidies needed if the state would move forward with the recently voter-approved sports gambling and perhaps the slots / VGTs. As Mr. English already mentioned, the tracks wanted to be out in front of the curve on Racinos years ago but AyCee and their lobbyists wouldn’t allow it. The playing field should be level and it can be done w/o any state support.

    If MP gets shuttered for even six months you can put a fork in it. Then bundle it with Fort Monmouth and you’ll have two potential landfill sites near you.

  12. Chris said at 10:04 am on December 14th, 2011:

    TR: Then the subsidiary businesses that benefit from those $780 millions should become shareholders and invest to keep the business alive, not myself (the taxpayer) who almost never goes to the races.

  13. Joseph Irace said at 12:16 pm on December 14th, 2011:

    End all subsidizes for horse racing, Atlantic City (including Revel) and The American Dream Project (Xanadu). I don’t think any of us would have an issue with that. The problem is Trenton speaks out of both sides of its mouth.

    Kill horse racing but help Atlantic City. You shouldn’t have it both ways. Allow horse racing to compete with the surrounding states, on equal footing, with a casino and everybody, including the taxpayers, wins.

    It’s a free market economy right?