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Lesniak: Casinos Should Subsidize Racing

Published: August 22, 2011 1:25 pm ET

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The shockwave which was recently sent through the harness racing industry when Perretti Farms announced that it will be conducting a complete dispersal appears to still be reverberating. According to a report, members of the party of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie have said that action might be needed from the Governor to stop further erosion of the horse racing industry.

According to a report on, fellow Republican New Jersey Assembly members Caroline Casagrande and Declan O'Scanlon have been cited as saying that action may be needed to stop the bleeding.

New Jersey Senator Ray Lesniak --- a Democrat that has come up with multiple propositions on how to subsidize the horse racing industry over the past months --- has now gone on the record as saying that the dispersal of Perretti Farms, the state's largest breeding operation, should prove that the horse racing industry should be subsidized.

Senator Lesniak is planning on resubmitting an amended bill which would call for the legalization of intra-state online wagering. The bill had earlier been vetoed by Governor Christie due to, among other things, the subsidization of the horse racing industry from the state via a fraction of the projected revenue from the online venture. Senator Lesniak had gone on the record as saying that, in regard to his bill, he would be willing to remove the element of horse racing subsidies from the state in order to get the legislation passed.

According to the report, Senator Lesniak is now saying that horse racing purses in the state should be temporarily subsidized by the casino operators.

"I'm saying the Perretti meltdown should get Christie to lighten up and the casinos will be willing to temporarily support purse subsidies since they will be getting a huge revenue boost from online gaming," Senator Lesniak was quoted as saying.

"That's a change from my vetoed bill which had the purse subsidies come from state revenues generated by online gaming."

Democratic New Jersey Senator Paul Sarlo was quoted in the article as saying, "The Governor claimed that privatizing Monmouth Park and the Meadowlands Racetrack would result in increased self-sufficiency for the horse racing industry. If that's the case, why is the reputable Perretti Farms bailing out?"

(With files from

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