NJ Publication: Horse Racing Shouldn't Get Handouts from Online Gambling

Editorial supports legalization of online gambling in the state

After the recent moves regarding the legalization of online gambling in New Jersey, an editorial comment issued by the Star-Ledger publication claims that the state's horseracing industry, which has been going through tough times and has needed $200 million in subsidies from taxpayers and casinos since 2004, should not receive any more money from online gambling.

Prior to this, the bill which proposes legalization of the intra-state online gambling has promptly passed both political committees and the Senate, so it now heads for a debate in the House.

Supporting this initiative, led by Senator Ray Lesniak, the editorial stated that NJ needs new revenue sources, and that the estimated amount of money wagered by the 500,000 New Jersey residents who have accounts with online poker sites amounts to about $150 million a year.

It was pointed out that: "By allowing the state's 11 casinos to establish gambling web sites, New Jersey will get a piece of that action.'

"But why divert this money for a horse-racing bailout? Given the pressing needs of a state that is laying off teachers and cops, and trying to find money to fix decaying roads and bridges, this subsidy can't be justified.

"Horse racing has siphoned more than $200 million in taxpayer money and casino subsidies over the past six years, and while racing supporters promise to make the sport self-sustaining, they don't set a timeline. Nor do they estimate how much money they'll need from taxpayers - to pad purses and build off-track wagering sites - to make that happen.

"In the meantime, the sport will continue to live off public money that should be directed to more critical needs. For taxpayers, that's a bad bet."

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