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 »

Monmouth Park Privatization Deal Unraveling

Monmouth Park is in jeopardy of closing  due to a dispute over the licensing of thoroughbred races at the Meadowlands, according to a report in The Star Ledger.

The New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Associated successfully negotiated for the rights to the Meadowlands races on June 21.   Now the investor slated to take over the Meadowlands track, Jeffrey Gural, wants the rights back because he didn’t realize he was giving up proceeds of off-track wagering on the races.  Evidently, the Christie administration is siding with Gural and is refusing to issue the license to the horsemen.

The Meadowlands license impacts Monmouth Park because races licensed for the Meadowlands are frequently transferred to Monmouth.

As a result of the dispute, Morris Baily, the investor slated to take over Monmouth Park from the state, says he wants out of the deal, according to the Ledger.

The parties would have a lot more money to fight over, while keeping the tracks open, if  slots were permitted at the racetracks, as they are in a growing number of tracks throughout the region.

Assemblyman Ronald Dancer has introduced two pieces of legislation that would permit slots at racetracks.

A-4294 directs the Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE), in consultation with the New Jersey Racing Commission, to implement and oversee slot machine gambling operations at horse racing venues.

ACR-209 is a resolution proposing a constitutional amendment that gives the Legislature the authority to establish slot machine gambling at racetracks. If approved by voters, the specific restrictions and control of operations of slot machines, as well as the use of the State’s share of revenues derived from the machines, would be provided by law.

“Both proposals represent an incentive for the major stakeholders in this issue – the casino and horse racing industries – to come together and work out a fair and mutually beneficial agreement. Allowing slot machines at racetracks will generate revenues that will help both industries,” said Dancer. “One industry’s success does not have to be at the expense of the other. Permitting slot machines at racing venues will preserve and enhance both.

“One unique aspect of these bills is that the DGE will consult with the Racing Commission in overseeing the operation of slot machines, without the involvement of the New Jersey Lottery Commission which exists currently,” explained Dancer. “As a result, the proceeds from expanding slots at the racetracks would not be diluted to another commission, but distributed to the industries for which they are intended.

I am open to either approach in deciding this issue. We can allow the voters to determine if amending New Jersey’s Constitution is appropriate or work through the legislative process,” commented Dancer. “The casino and horse racing industries are important parts of our state’s economy. I am confident we can reach a reasonable solution as to how we can capitalize on the market potential slot machines at racetracks will produce.”

Dancer pointed out the benefits New Jersey’s horse racing industry provides to the state, including jobs, tax revenue and preserving open space. According to the Rutgers Equine Center, horse racing employs over 7,000 workers and contributes nearly $800 million to the state’s economy. Further, 34,000 acres of the state’s 176,000 farmland acres are attributable to the horse racing industry.


Unfortunately, Dancer’s legislation has little chance of becoming law, as Governor Chris Christie and Senate President Steve Sweeney are opposed to allowing slots in New Jersey anywhere outside of Atlantic City.

Posted: December 8th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Atlantic City, Horse Racing Industry, Monmouth Park | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Monmouth Park Privatization At Risk

Morris Bailey has sent the NJ Sport and Exposition Authority a letter declaring his memorandum of understanding for a five year lease agreement of Monmouth Park null and void, according to the Star Ledger.

Bailey, a real estate developer and the owner of Resorts Casino in Atlantic City, has been running the track since June 24 under the memorandum of understanding while waiting to receive the formal lease.

At issue is a $4,000,000 loan from the NJ Thoroughbred Horseman’s Association to support the track’s purses at $400,000 per day.  That money has already been used.  Without at formal lease, Bailey is not accepting the loan.

The Ledger quoted a spokesperson for the NJSEA as saying they considered Bailey’s letter a negotiating ploy.

Purses could be drastically reduced this fall and the 2012 racing dates could be at risk, according to the Ledger.

Oceanport Councilman Joe Irace was caught off guard by this development.  “This is not good news!  We were told that the Monmouth Park deal was signed, sealed and delivered.”  Monmouth Park is Oceanport’s largest taxpayer.

Posted: September 6th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Monmouth Park, Oceanport | Tags: , , | 1 Comment »