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Gural On Meadowlands Casino Plan

Published: June 7, 2015 12:04 pm ET

Last Comment: June 12, 2015 10:21 am ET | 4 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

"I think they're in denial. Atlantic City's going to die without this help."

Jeff Gural, Chairman of Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment, discussed the plans recently unveiled by Meadowlands and Hard Rock International for a revamped gaming and entertainment centre at the East Rutherford, N.J. oval.

Gural was ecstatic with the presentation, turnout and coverage from Wednesday's press conference. He explained why this is such an important matter for harness racing and the state of New Jersey to bring to the forefront with a statewide referendum later this year to allow casino gaming outside of Atlantic City.

"The key for us is to get our message out, because people have to understand that the reason we're doing this is that we're going to pay a very high tax rate."

Gural estimates that a casino at The Meadowlands could generate as much as $500 million in taxes if they're open "by themselves for a while." Of that, a significant portion would be designated to help rebuild Atlantic City.

Given the opposition to this plan from certain segments, especially some in Atlantic City, Meadowlands' Justin Horowitz asked Gural why this is a good plan since others feels this will contribute to Atlantic City's demise.

"This has nothing to do with North vs. South...they said to me when I was down there, 'we don't want any competition from the North'. The problem is they have competition from the North, it's just not in New Jersey: it's in New York and Pennsylvania, and neither of those two states are offering to give them a dime."

Gural feels time of the essence, as if the referendum doesn't happen now it might not happen until 2017, which -- according to his estimates on tax revenue -- could cost the state around $1 billion.

From the racing side, Gural anticipates having the best purse structure "on the planet," with 10 per cent of the slots handle going to purses and half of that going to Monmouth Park.

"It would revive racing here; we'd be back to what we were."

When asked how certain he was that this would all go through, Gural balked at offering a guess.

"I'm not certain at all; there's one person that's standing in the way, and that's (New Jersey Senate President) Steve Sweeney. Unless we're able to persuade Steve -- who's a friend of mine -- to put it on the ballot, we're in trouble.

"Steve seems to think we'd be better putting in on next year, and I totally disagree. That's basically it. It's in his ballpark, and if he can't convince him it's not going to go on the ballot."

Gural and Horowitz discuss how slots could impact the number of race dates, how the current Meadowlands' facility would be impacted by this plan and what people of New Jersey should do to support this proposal. The interview is available below.

Jeff Gural - In The Sulky - June 5, 2015

June 12, 2015 - 10:21 amI can hardly wait to see the

john thomas SAID...

I can hardly wait to see the purse structure rival that of Yonkers or better.
There are more top tier horses at Yonkers but it's like watching 2 gold fish swim in their gold fish bowl for 2 minutes.....

Now lets get the top horses back to the Big M with more top drivers (Sears) and it will be like having a big stakes day every Friday and Saturday night.

Not to mention I don't have to listen to a couple of guys how they played their pick 4 ticket all night long.

June 9, 2015 - 9:36 amI don't always agree with

I don't always agree with Gural. For example, the post time delay to capture more wagering (post is post time, please). When we see low level purses at the Meadowlands, which attracts top trainers, drivers and horses, it doesn't provide that marketing flash. Think about the North American Cup and other marquee races: true racing fans and others show up. I could see purse structures with stakes, early and late closers, invitationals and handicaps striking up a storm of interest. These are the races which attract attention, and brining added revenue to the Meadowlands to recapture these events will bring an uptick in breeding, attract more owners, and excite more fans. I agree with Gural, not only for the Meadowlands, but for the state of NJ. Now if he could only see that when post time approaches zero seconds the horses should be moving to the gate.

June 7, 2015 - 3:23 pmI'm from Canada and can see

I'm from Canada and can see as plain as the nose on my face, that the only answer to New Jersey's financial problems is JEFF GURAL'S PLAN ---GET ER DONE

June 7, 2015 - 1:26 pm"It would revive racing here;

"It would revive racing here; we'd be back to what we were."From the racing side, Gural anticipates having the best purse structure "on the planet"

Bigger purses and more dates! Yep,that is going to save harness racing.

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