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Issues For NJSEA With Racing Exodus

Published: March 4, 2013 12:14 pm ET

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The State of New Jersey is closing in on the finish line in terms of separating itself from its horse racing industry, although, as it is almost out, a pair of issues have popped up in the last little while that are making the transition tougher than expected.

A report by John Brennan in The Bergen Record explains that the NJSEA, which is ultimately responsible for the state's horse racing wagering operation, had allowed a six-figure line of credit to be given to thoroughbred breeder/owner Ahmed Zayat, which led to the punter owing an outstanding $286,000 debt to the NJSEA, a public entity.

Brennan's article explains that in light of the NJSEA getting out of the business of NJ horse racing wagering, a representative from the NJSEA has said that Zayat has paid off his debt. Zayat, who was quoted as saying that he is "extremely proud to support the sport and bet legally," has also eluded to the fact that 'someone is playing games' regarding the ordeal.

The Zayat issue has come to the fore just as the NJSEA is about to privatize horse racing wagering in New Jersey. The transition to privatization has caused Freehold Raceway to file a lawsuit against the NJSEA, stating that the latter is not allowed to transfer its racing-wagering obligation to another party.

The report has cited Freehold Raceway executive Christopher McErlean as saying that much progress has been made to rectify the situation, and that his company is "trying to work with [the sports authority] and the court to get this resolved quickly."

(With files from The Bergen Record)

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