New Jersey Assembly Passes Horse Racing Bills
After a tumultuous year that included a controversial commission report and boisterous public summits, the New Jersey state assembly completed legislative action on a number of bills that would directly impact the state’s horse racing industry.
Among the legislation that was approved on Dec. 13 included bills that would expand off-track wagering options, establish exchange wagering on horse races both in and out of the state, and authorize online wagering for non-New Jersey residents for Garden State horse races.
The off-track wagering bill and the exchange wagering bill will now go to Governor Chris Christie, while the online wagering bill will go to the Senate for approval.
“The purpose of these bills is to keep the horse racing industry a self-sustaining industry – without a taxpayer subsidy and without a casino subsidy,” said Assemblyman Ronald S. Dancer (R-Ocean).
Currently, only the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority can run off-track wagering facilities. The Assembly voted overwhelmingly, 72-1, to allow entities other than the NJSEA to participate in off-track wagering, following the state senate’s successful vote on the issue last month.
“Off-track wagering hasn’t taken off as successfully as it should have, and clearly it hasn’t helped our horse racing industry as much as we had hoped,” said Assemblyman John Burzichelli (D-Gloucester). “One of the reasons for that is our current law has proven too cumbersome. We can change this rather easily with this bill.”
The New Jersey assembly also made news by approving a bill that would establish exchange wagering in the state, allowing residents to place directly opposing wagers with each other.
“Expanding wagering options can only help boost our horse racing industry and tracks and ensure New Jersey stays a step ahead of the rest of the nation when it comes to innovative approaches,” said Assemblywoman Connie Wagner (D-Bergen).
One bill the assembly passed that still does need Senate approval is legislation that would allow out-of-state residents to bet on New Jersey races. The assembly also passed that bill in a landslide, 73-1.