New Jersey’s Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation Committee passed four bills Monday designed to keep New Jersey’s horse racing industry from going belly up. The state senate committee approved a measure to allow the horse racing industry an opportunity to open off-track wagering sites, and another that would make New Jersey the first state to offer European-style exchange betting.
It didn’t stop there, a measure to reduce the number of mandatory race dates at Meadowlands Racetrack and privately owned Freehold Raceway, was reduced to 100 in a an effort to bolster fan interest and increase purses for the remaining races. Another bill was also approved that effectively was designed to shift all pari-mutuel wagering into one betting pool.
Two bills in particular that were passed on Monday really work to set NJ apart. The first bill (S-829) would allow New Jersey to be the first state in the country to offer “exchange wagering” on the results of horse races. And the second bill (S-1980) amends New Jersey’s “Off-Track and Account Wagering Act,” to facilitate the establishment of off-track wagering facilities in the State.
Among those who sponsored the bills, Senator Jennifer Beck said “Horseracing is a vibrant, vital component of New Jersey life and culture, ” Beck stated. “The horse racing industry provides thousands of jobs, contributes over one billion dollars a year to our state’s economy and keeps about one-fifth of the state’s total acreage in agriculture. The two bills passed today address the long-term future of the horse racing industry by encouraging it to expand and move forward.”