Assemblyman Ron Dancer has introduced two pieces of legislation which would allow New Jersey racetracks to include slot machines as part of their operation
A-4294 directs the Division of Gaming Enforcement, in consultation with the New Jersey Racing Commission, to implement and oversee slot machine gambling operations at horse racing venues.
ACR-209 is a resolution proposing a constitutional amendment that gives the legislature the authority to establish slot machine gambling at racetracks. If approved by voters, the specific restrictions and control of operations of slot machines, as well as the use of the state’s share of revenues derived from the machines, would be provided by law.
“Both proposals represent an incentive for the major stakeholders in this issue --- the casino and horse racing industries --- to come together and work out a fair and mutually beneficial agreement. Allowing slot machines at racetracks will generate revenues that will help both industries,” said Dancer. “One industry’s success does not have to be at the expense of the other. Permitting slot machines at racing venues will preserve and enhance both.
“One unique aspect of these bills is that the DGE will consult with the Racing Commission in overseeing the operation of slot machines, without the involvement of the New Jersey Lottery Commission which exists currently,” explained Dancer. “As a result, the proceeds from expanding slots at the racetracks would not be diluted to another commission, but distributed to the industries for which they are intended.
“I am open to either approach in deciding this issue. We can allow the voters to determine if amending New Jersey’s Constitution is appropriate or work through the legislative process,” commented Dancer. “The casino and horse racing industries are important parts of our state’s economy. I am confident we can reach a reasonable solution as to how we can capitalize on the market potential slot machines at racetracks will produce.”
Dancer pointed out the benefits New Jersey’s horse racing industry provides to the state, including jobs, tax revenue and preserving open space. According to the Rutgers Equine Center, horse racing employs over 7,000 workers and contributes nearly $800 million to the state’s economy. Further, 34,000 acres of the state’s 176,000 farmland acres are attributable to the horse racing industry.
(Assembly Republican Press Office)