Two New Jersey lawmakers have introduced a measure to provide $20 million from the state’s general fund to increase the purse money at horse racing tracks in the state.
Assemblyman John Burzichelli says the horse farm business in Jersey has suffered since casino subsidies for the race tracks ended in 2010.
He says sports betting might not be enough to make New Jersey tracks competitive with those in Pennsylvania and New York that have casinos.
“We’ll see how the sports betting stuff really works out, what kind of number it brings us. Hopefully it brings us a good number. Maybe by the time we have a full discussion on this issue maybe we don’t have to do this level of subsidy.”
Senator Vin Gopal believes the state subsidies to increase purses at the track would help support the industry.
“So much of our economy is at stake here. We have spent pubic dollars on economic improvement, whether it’s tax credits, whether it’s tax abatement, I see this as another form.”
Gopal is optimistic about the measure's odds of being enacted. He says he’s talked to the Governor, Senate President, and Assembly Speaker and they’re receptive to the idea.