Dancer: Allow slots at racetracks

TRENTON – A lawmaker wants to balance the administration’s desire to maintain Atlantic City as the state’s gambling center with the horse racing industry’s efforts to keep their sport viable around the state.

Assemblyman Ron Dancer, (R-12), Cream Ridge, introduced two measures that also would help to fund education and reduce taxes.

ACR209 would allow voters to decide on a constitutional amendment to establish slots gambling at horse tracks.

A4427 would direct the Division of Gaming Enforcement to oversee such gambling.

A certain amount of money raised would be dedicated as education aid to lower property taxes. “This is a winning solution, a trifecta, if you will, for the casino industry, the horse racing industry and taxpayers who would all mutually benefit from allowing slot machine gambling at horse tracks throughout the state,” Dancer said in a release.

“It would provide an opportunity for casino operators to expand beyond the boundaries of Atlantic City and reach patrons who may not otherwise consider travelling to AC to engage in gambling activities and slow the exodus of Jersey residents traveling to neighboring states’ racetracks that offer slots.”

Dancer has sought to address concerns of the horse racing industry in previous legislation.

A bill he co-sponsored, A4149, will permit horse racing at the beach. After it was conditionally vetoed to remove betting provisions, the bill won concurrence and became law. Gov. Chris Christie in his CV message expressed long-held reservations about expanding wagering outside Atlantic City or at places other than racetracks.

Another bill Dancer co-sponsored, A3489/S2540, would have allowed permit holders and horsemen’s associations to enter into private contracts to distribute purse monies as they see fit in order to enhance the well-being of New Jersey’s horse racing industry.

That also drew a CV over the governor’s concerns some parties could mask parochial interests. Christie recommended having the N.J. Racing Commission approval as part of the process.