Gov. Chris Christie knew that what he chose to do with the Lesniak online casino bill would impact his future as a politician. Right now, that impact is looking more and more negative. He didn’t want to be the first, well sometimes, if you’re not first, you’re last.
Christie originally vetoed Lesniak’s in part because the bill included sending subsidies to horse racing. Now, New Jersey lawmakers are having second thoughts about overhauls to the state’s horse racing and casino industries.
Last week, the announcement of 900-acre Perretti Farms plan to get out of racehorse breeding prompted state Sen. Raymond Lesniak and others lawmakers to call for state intervention to head off a collapse for other breeders and racetracks.
Lesniak spoke candidly about the unfolding situation, “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.” – Courier Post Online
Now Lesniak is calling out the governor, saying it’s clear horse racing needs external funding.
“That’s a change from my vetoed bill which had the purse subsidies come from state revenues generated by online gaming.” – Courier Post Online
Horse racing isn’t the only place Christie has dropped the ball.
And now the critics are sounding off. They weren’t this loud when Christie first vetoed the bill, but now their voices are being heard, especially with an opportunity to take political jabs. Bergen County Democratic lawmakers said Christie probably shouldn’t have ruled out expanded gambling at the racetracks soon after taking office.
“If you look at the economic indicators from July, gaming reforms implemented by the governor have not resulted in an uptick in economic activity in Atlantic City,” said state Sen. Paul Sarlo. 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?”-Courier Post Online
Christie’s own camp can’t be happy, considering his party in Monmouth County is home to Perretti and other farms and two racetracks. Already, Assembly members Caroline Casagrande and Declan O’Scanlon are saying action may be needed to stop the bleeding.