New Jersey lawmakers recently revealed a new piece of legislation that will allow in-state Internet betting through Atlantic City casinos. This legislation will also legalize sports betting if a federal ban is lifted and will siphon new money into the horse racing industry. The purpose of the legislation is to save both Atlantic City and the horse racing industry, two industries which have been struggling against each other in the past few years to survive.
“From the outset, this process has always been about rejecting the conventional wisdom that Atlantic City, the Meadowlands, and the horse racing industry could not be brought together,” said Democratic Senator James Whelan, also a former mayor of Atlantic City. “This is a comprehensive approach that will protect the jobs our casinos and racetracks support, and prove that solutions do not have to come with winners and losers. If we act quickly to get this plan in place, everyone will win.”
Senate Democrats say they intend to legalize online betting from within the state but will let voters decide at the polls whether or not to allow sports betting. Additionally, the Democrats are pushing for new types of bets on horse races, want to expand the state’s breeding development program, and reduce costs at the Meadowlands and Monmouth Park.
This is a response to the recommendations of a task force appointed to layout a future for the state’s casinos and racetracks. Both are facing severe competition from neighboring states, as well as from the struggling economy.
The task force recommended that the state refuse to allow slot machines at the horse tracks and to end its multimillion-dollar subsidies of the industry. This would help to have more streamlined operations at the Meadowlands and Monmouth Park racetracks and result in savings from a decrease in expenses at the tracks and would be used to support horseracing and casino initiatives.
State Senate President Stephen Sweeney said the task force recommendations were “a major stick in the eye to the horse racing industry. It would have meant turning out the lights and losing the 13,000 to 16,000 jobs they support. This is designed to make sure the casinos and the racetracks both survive and thrive.”