Deep Breath Taken Before More Collaborative Approach Chosen

Horse racing bodies take a milder line on New Jersey Internet gambling proposal

Earlier this week media interest was focused on the news that New Jersey horse racing industry was less than pleased by its exclusion from the benefits of legalized online gambling proposed in the state legislature. The industry spokesmen mentioning the possible legal action, generated even more attention.

Sen. Ray Lesniak's bill changes about giving control of any legalized online gambling to Atlantic City operators, disturbed the horsemen who were particularly worried of possible financial implications.

Although the legislation is still at the committee stage, Sen. Lesniak appears confident it will pass by mid-March, therefore opening the way for regulations to be drafted, with the possibility of negotiating inter-state collaboration.

Nevertheless, later in the week, the horseracing sector have reconsidered its position, adopting a more conciliatory tone, and according to one of the consultants, the legal action was not being seriously considered

It was Dennis Drazin who said: 'We actually ask that some consideration be given to amending the bill, tweaking it a little bit without hurting the casinos. They could allow casinos to lease gaming space from the racetracks. If you allow a casino that wants to partner with the racetracks, you capture the racetrack customers who are already gambling. It allows the horsemen and the casinos to work together to benefit the state.'

Seeming comfortable with this approach, Sen. Lesniak concluded: 'We've been speaking. I understand the angst of the horseracing industry and they understand that both the casino industry and the horseracing industry are important to the economy of the state. We'll work it out.'

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