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Robinson: Past Decisions Take Some Blame

Published: March 3, 2010 4:22 pm ET

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New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority President and CEO Dennis Robinson today told a state Senate Legislative Oversight Committee that decisions and stances taken by past state governments can be blamed for the current financial problems the NJSEA faces today.

The hearing in front of the committee was called to explore the NJSEA's future role. The NJEA operates Meadowlands Racetrack.

In a report by, Robinson was cited as saying that when the Meadowlands Racetrack -- built to help finance the Sports Authority -- conducted its first full season in 1977, it held a 81 per cent share of the legalized gaming in New Jersey. At present day, according to Robinson, the track now accounts for just two per cent of that market.

The article goes on to cite Robinson as saying that it was the Legislature and governor at the time who moved to create casino gambling in Atlantic City, a move that hurt the Sports Authority almost immediately after it opened for business.

"The sports complex was created on the backs of racehorses,'' Robinson was quoted as saying. "In 1978, the first (Atlantic City) casino opened and it's been down hill since then.'' He went on to say: "The revenue problem has been growing since 1977. Don't kid yourself.''

Robinson said that while the Sports Authority doesn't make millions of dollars in profits, the tax revenue it provides the state through jobs and consumer spending provides the state government $66 million annually. He said, for example, the authority lost $2 million hosting the Breeders' Cup at Monmouth Park in 2007 but the event provided the state $16 million in revenue.

(With files from

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