by Tom LaMarra
Date Posted: 1/6/2012 2:44:09 PM
A bill authorizing small offtrack betting operations in bars
and restaurants, and another measure giving Atlantic City Race Course a larger
chunk of revenue from casino race books, passed New Jersey legislative
committees Jan. 5.
The OTB bill was
amended before it passed Assembly and Senate committees. It now calls for up to
12 mini OTB parlors rather than 60, and states only the purchaser or lessee of
state-owned racetracks—Meadowlands and Monmouth Park—can apply for licenses to
operate the OTBs.
The facilities could
only be located in northern and central New Jersey. The New Jersey Racing
Commission would oversee the three-year pilot program.
The mini parlors
would be in addition to full-scale OTB parlors, of which 15 can be opened in
New Jersey. Only three have opened thus far.
measure is a modified bill from 2011. It would award 90% of the Casino
Simulcasting Special Fund to ACRC for capital improvements and “additional live
racing day expenses.” In the first two years of receiving the funds, however,
the southern New Jersey track must spend 75% on capital improvements.
The NJRC would
distribute the remaining 10% to Monmouth and Freehold Raceway.
According to NJRC
statistics, roughly $1.2 million in revenue from race books at Atlantic City
casinos will be available in 2012. Thus ACRC would be eligible for $1.08
million, about $750,000 of which would have to be used for capital
ACRC management has
said it would like to increase the number of race days—it offers six a year
now—but has been hampered by a lack of funding.