Last week a bill that would allow two New Jersey racetracks to offer online gambling was passed by the Assembly Tourism, Gaming and Arts Committee by a vote of 4-3. This comes following the rejection of a November referendum to allow gambling outside of Atlantic City, which was expressly rejected by voters. Assemblyman Ronald Dancer, the bill’s author and a supporter of expanding gambling outside of Atlantic City, referred to A4255 as “another way of winning.”
About the Bill
Dancer’s A4255 proposes to allow Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment in East Rutherford and Monmouth Park Racetrack in Oceanport to offer online gambling in a specified area within the racetracks.
Behind the Scenes of the Bill
New Jersey’s gambling industry has been taking a hit due to competition from neighboring states. The bill’s supporters hope that expanding gambling options will increase the state’s revenue even with the competition from outside. The online gambling centers at the racetracks are also expected to improve New Jersey’s horse racing industry.
However, not everyone is convinced that allowing online gambling outside of Atlantic City will improve gambling profits in the Garden State. Anthony Marino, a local market analyst, says that allowing gambling outside Atlantic City might end up driving visitors away from the resorts.
On the other hand, Dennis Drazin, advisor to Monmouth Park, claims that the bill will benefit both the Atlantic City resorts and the outside racetracks, essentially allowing the casinos to decide if they want to expand their online gambling services to the racetracks or not.
Not Just Yet
While the bill has overcome its first hurdle, it still needs to get approved by the Assembly and Senate. The New Jersey voters, for their part, voiced their opinion in November’s referendum, and their choice was not to allow the expansion of casinos in New Jersey. Since A4255 is fairly similar, New Jersey legislatures might not be so eager to pass a bill that the majority of their constituents clearly oppose.