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Gural Sees Casino In Big M Future

jeff-gural-bigm.jpg

Published: January 22, 2011 10:52 am ET

Last Comment: March 1, 2011 9:51 am ET | 4 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

Stating that this is unquestionably "the biggest challenge of his life", horse owner, real estate investor and racetrack operator Jeff Gural answered questions on the future of the Meadowlands and harness racing in New Jersey on Friday night before the Big M's card.

Sam McKee interviewed Gural, who was positive yet realistic about the long-term feasibility of racing at North America's premier location. Gural's intervention, as it turns out, came at just the right time.

"Tommy [Luchento of the SBOANJ] asked me to call someone in the Governor's office, and when I called them, they said it's good you called, we're getting ready to announce that the track's going to close tonight," Gural revealed. "So I ran down there and fortunately, with the help of the New Jersey horsemen, we were able to come to an agreement to give me until the end of March to work on a long-term lease."

Gural fully understands the state's stance on reducing funding.

"We're in an environment where we're hearing stories of policemen being laid off, teachers being laid off...it's hard to argue that's where the money should go even though I think we all agree that horse racing generates and creates a lot of jobs in New Jersey, a lot of open space. Having said that, it's a fair request to try to see if we can't stand on our own two feet and not require any subsidy."

The first part of the interview also touches on Gural's plans for renovating the track and a smaller grandstand, OTB locations in New Jersey, what he would change about the restaurant and food service and whether or not The Meadowlands can turn a profit.

"It has to [turn a profit]," Gural offered bluntedly. "I haven't really met with the union leaders but I'm hopeful they understand that there are two options. There's Option A which is to come up with a plan that makes the track self-sustaining and Option B is to close. We don't have an Option C."

Jeff Gural Interview - Part 1

 

In the second part of the interview, McKee asked Gural about his outlook on a Meadowlands casino.

"I'll tell you what I think is going to happen. I think you're going to see table games at Yonkers, Aqueduct, Tioga and Vernon. It will take a constitutional amendment and that will take a couple of years. But I'm convinced the public understands that table games, as opposed to slots, creates a lot of jobs. Slots is where the money is for the casino owner, but from the state's standpoint if you need jobs - and we need them bad - then [tables games] is a big job creator and will create some revenue.

"If Yonkers and Aqueduct have full casinos, Atlantic City can't in good conscience be worried about competition from The Meadowlands. So if I had to guess, I would think that if nothing else that would force the state to put slots at the Meadowlands. No one will go to Atlantic City once [table games in New York] happens."

Jeff Gural Interview - Part 2

March 1, 2011 - 9:51 amI would like to post a

I would like to post a response to Mr Michaels comment and point out some FACTS. There are a lot of reasons why the racetrack is closed in Montreal and while the casino is 1 of them it is not the only 1.

Let's also remember that the racetrack was competing with the casino since they were 2 different entities. The biggest reason why the track is closed is that there are VLT's at every other bar in the province. Why would someone drive 1 hour to play those machines since they can play them across the street from where they live.

Also the "jackpot" is $500 not as interesting as the big pot from the casino. As far as the comment on how broke the citizen's are, well I am from Montreal and even though I don't live there anymore, I still go back often. Montreal is booming and they are building like crazy in the area. Their economy is doing just fine and I surely DIDN'T get the impression on how broke they were last time I went there.

January 22, 2011 - 4:28 pmas a fan & a x groom for

Doug Critch SAID...

as a fan & a x groom for standardbred racing thoroughbred,racing

biggest challenge of his life", horse owner, real estate investor and racetrack operator we all need to change
.I hope there's more of a game plan then to sit back and hope, because you need more then hope all the horseman
owners, grooms, or sales companies will have to sell all there live stock and again l would not what to see that .
l love harness racing but the sport has to come back to the old days, that some can remember when they were small is
when the fans came out by the thousands they should have never gotten rid og greenwood raceway , harness racing sitting
there and the slots and thoroughbred racing is killing your sport .
l can see the day catch drivers only drive there own horses, but will not be driving for there familys
in the harness world. just like the thoroughbred racing where they leave the gate
and any one has a chance for the purse money not follow the until you get to the three quarter pole and make a
move then beat the heck out of the horse to win. if you stay alive in this harness sport. please im not wishing
for this but if you want more then hope .. change's will have to happen fast when you have a top class driver
racing a flamboro downs, if you could remember years back when horseman had there stable names on there trucks not now.
because a harness driver top class did, his truck was destroyed because of angry fans . In my opinion you have to go back to
the grand circuit when they gave glasses away to the first 1000 customers or key chains or pens or live entertainment.
You have to give something back to your customers you also want to be able to buy memorabilia at the tracks all tracks not
just ontario lottery products.
in closing statement i do not want the sport to die but if they dont start to do something quick we can all see it slipping through
our fingers its a great sport lets work together to save it.

January 22, 2011 - 3:17 pmdon't be fooled.... any

don't be fooled.... any casino (table games) opening in a city, will destroy, not only the horse racing industry but also, the economy of that city. montreal is a prime example of how the horse racing industry died and believe it or not, how broke its citizens are.

January 22, 2011 - 11:53 amI hope there's more of a

I hope there's more of a game plan than to sit back and hope he gets the tables.


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