November 8 Vote on Casino Referendum Critical for New Jersey Horse Racing Industry
New Jersey’s horsemen fought unsuccessfully for more than a decade to bring slot machines and other forms of casino gambling to their racetracks. As the November 8 election nears, New Jersey horsemen and racing representatives are not optimistic that the proposed casino referendum will provide necessary relief to the struggling industry.
The proposed resolution approved by the New Jersey Legislature will ask voters this November if they want to end Atlantic City’s monopoly on gambling and allow for the creation of two casinos in the northern part of the state. A percentage of tax proceeds generated by the new casinos would be directed towards aiding the horse racing industry.
According to projections, horsemen would collect approximately $3 million annually in tax revenues from the two new casinos. But that’s less than two percent of projected casino revenues, and won’t come close to truly assisting the struggling racing industry.
Leaders of the state’s horse-racing industry were expecting to receive a significant share of tax revenues from the state’s casinos if voters approve the referendum to build two new casinos in the northern part of the state, likely in the Meadowlands and Jersey City.
Discussions on the casino legislation will take place this summer, and while keeping the state’s horse racing industry afloat is crucial to many legislators, it won’t happen unless additional subsidies from the state and casino industry is approved.
Various polls in recent months have suggested that voters are split roughly evenly on whether to approve the ballot question — which is why supporters and opponents of casino expansion are expected to launch multimillion-dollar advertising campaigns this fall. Stay tuned.