New Jersey lawmakers are throwing a lifeline to help the state’s struggling horse racing tracks.
On Thursday, the New Jersey State Assembly approved a bill that would allow tracks to offer Internet gambling on their premises, The Providence Journal reported.
The law requires track operators to ink a partnership with an Atlantic City casino or an online affiliate of a casino to be able to offer online betting.
Casino executive-turned Democratic Assemblyman Ralph Caputo said the new legislation aims to boost the racing industry’s revenue by paving the way for the establishment of so-called ‘Internet cafes’ at tracks that offer real-money gambling.
“It would bring more traffic into the racetracks, and they need it desperately,” Caputo said, according to the news agency.
Regulated online gambling has been a boon to the Garden State, generating revenues of as much as $20.5 million in October. For the year-to-date, New Jersey’s online gambling revenue is up 26.7% to $204.2 million.
The rise of online gambling, however, has affected the horse racing tracks since gamblers with Internet accounts may place bets from anywhere in New Jersey.
Dennis Drazin, chairman and CEO of the Monmouth Park racetrack in Oceanport, praised the decision of the majority of the state Assembly to pass the bill, saying that it will help shore up track revenues without causing undue harm to New Jersey’s casino industry.
“The casinos should realize that absolutely nothing will happen unless they agree to allow it through an agreement with a track,” Drazin said, according to the news outlet. “Nobody is forcing anything on them. This is really a win-win for the racing industry and the casino industry.”
For now, track operators are waiting for the state Senate to pass a similar bill.