Assembly committee advances Dancer racing commission oversight bill

Assembly committee advances Dancer racing commission oversight bill

TRENTON, N.J. – The Assembly Tourism, Gaming, and the Arts Committee on Monday advanced Assemblyman Ron Dancer’s bill that would mandate procedures to enforce internal controls of the New Jersey Racing Commission.

A state auditor’s report examined nearly four years of records and found the Commission improperly processed $7.5 million in transactions between 2017 and 2019. The Commission had uncollected horsemen fines totaling $272,000 and has consistently failed to maintain up-to-date fingerprints of employees and report equine fatalities.

Dancer’s bill (A327) will require an audit at the end of each fiscal year to ensure proper reporting of finances and other regulated information.

“This audit brought to light the need for reform within the racing commission,” Dancer (R-Ocean) pointed out. “Since its internal monitoring procedures failed, it’s time to bring in legislative oversight to ensure reporting integrity.”

Specifically, the bill requires that all licensee fingerprints are taken and renewed in a timely manner; employee access to sensitive information is limited to job duties and classification; horse fatalities are reported quickly and accurately; revenues are reported and recorded quickly to the appropriate systems; and all fines are collected, or those who refuse to pay fines are suspended.

“Significantly, $100 million in taxpayer money is being sent by law to the Racing Commission to supplement horse racing purses over a five-year period,” Dancer continued. “Because this involves money not only from fans and patrons, but also taxpayers, it’s even more important that there are proper fiscal controls on these monies.”

The annual audits will be paid for by the Commission, and the costs cannot be passed through to the horsemen. The audits will be sent to the Attorney General’s office and state Legislature by May 15.

Nine governor-appointed members comprise the Commission, which regulates horse racing and parimutuel, account, exchange, and sports wagering.