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Anticipation Over NJ Racing Support Bill

Published: January 16, 2019 1:13 pm ET

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In New Jersey, the anticipation over the horse racing support legislation that is working its way through the political system is palpable. Tracks and horsepeople in the state are patiently waiting for the next shoe to drop in order to make their 2019 racing plans.

The Asbury Park Press has run an article on the situation which explains that the industry is in limbo until the fate of NJ S2992 (18R) is known.

The piece of legislation would provide $20 million annually for five years starting this fiscal year to be disbursed through the New Jersey Racing Commission for use toward purse subsidies and track operations at New Jersey racetracks.

The first step was to have the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee advance the proposed legislation to a vote in the NJ Senate, which on December 10 was unanimously approved. On December 17, the NJ Senate passed the legislation by a 40-0 vote, thus successfully completing step two. There remain a few important hurdles before the bill becomes law. It must first pass a committee of the Assembly that will determine the validity of the proposed request. If accepted, the bill will then be introduced into the full Assembly for a vote and must pass that house before ultimately being signed into law by Gov. Phil Murphy.

“[The Meadowlands Racetrack’s] season started January 1 and we have major stakes races people have to nominate their horses by February 15, so it’s critical we know whether we’re getting the subsidy or not. So that I know what my purses are supposed to be and how many days I’m going to race,” Meadowlands Racetrack operator Jeff Gural has told the Asbury Park Press. “Because right now we’re scheduled to run 90 days, but without the subsidy we could never race 90 days and we would not be able to have the stakes races we normally have.''

To read the Asbury Park Press article in its entirety, click here.

(With files from the Asbury Park Press)

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