The horse racing industry in the state of New Jersey has been struggling for some time and with recent changes being discussed in the gaming industry, could have the potential to earn a significant amount in tax revenues from gaming. New Jersey lawmakers have been considering adding casinos in the northern portion of the state to help Atlantic City, the gambling area of the state that has seen a decline in gaming revenues for the past few years, resulting in four casinos closing in 2014 and continual issues today.
This November, voters will have the opportunity to vote on a referendum that would allow gambling facilities to be built in the northern portion of the state that will also provide a share of the tax revenues to the horse racing industry. However, according to NorthJersey.com, leaders of the horse racing industry fear the amount may be less than anticipated.
The formula used to determine the amount of revenues the industry is to be given is complex and industry insiders feel the subsidy needs to be increased significantly with legislation explaining the details fully in regards to the casino expansion for the industry to receive adequate funds.
The resolution had been under discussion for months, with the language being considered and negotiators constantly citing that the horse racing industry would earn a 2% cut of the casino tax revenues, if the referendum gains approval. Based on estimations of $600 million generated each year in tax revenues from the state’s casinos, the industry would earn only about $3 million. This is only a half of 1%.
The figures fall short of what Monmouth Park feels the industry will need if they are to stay in competition with tracks located in neighboring states such as Pennsylvania and New York. Monmouth Park actually feels the industry needs around $50 million to be successful.
Operator of Oceanport’s Monmouth Park, Dennis Drazin, feels the language could give the industry a larger share, stating he never wants to say no or be ungrateful for anything that the legislature decides to do to give help, but the current subsidy is not enough money to keep the industry competitive with surrounding states. Drazin feels $50 million is needed to be spread around to the breeds with some money going to the horse breeding industry.
Meadowlands Racetrack operator, Jeff Gural, also feels the horse racing industry will be earning a larger supplement and that the resolution was confusing and poorly worded. Reportedly, both Drazin as well as Senator Jennifer Back have stated that elected officials, including State Senate President Stephen Sweeney, have reassured them that a larger percentage will be given to the horse racing industry based on the bill.