Dancer bill reforming horse racing commission’s bookkeeping procedures advances

Dancer bill reforming horse racing commission’s bookkeeping procedures advances

Ron Dancer

TRENTON, N.J. – Aiming to correct multiple deficiencies in the New Jersey Racing Commission’s monitoring and reporting procedures, an Assembly panel recently advanced Assemblyman Ron Dancer’s bill requiring greater enforcement of internal controls at the commission responsible for overseeing the state’s horse racing industry.

The bill (A5484) follows a February 2021 state auditor’s report of the commission that found compliance issues, bookkeeping errors, and missing and deficient records.

“The auditor’s report makes it very evident that there needs to be more accountability and enforcement of internal controls at the racing commission,” said Dancer (R-Ocean). “Millions of dollars pass through the commission from not only our three racetracks, but from national and international wagering sites and now sports wagering. This bill ensures the dollars are properly followed and deposited, and establishes processes that will help the commission achieve compliance with applicable laws.”

State auditors looked at documentation for racing licensing fees, fingerprinting fees, and fines — as well as equine fatality reports. Findings revealed the commission is not following its monitoring procedures to ensure all revenue is deposited timely, properly recorded, and accounted for. There was also important information missing from horse fatality reports and federally-required fingerprint rules were not being properly observed.

“In order to preserve the integrity of the horse racing industry, we cannot accept substandard reports or accounting,” said Dancer. “It’s time to reform the way business is done at the commission.”

Under Dancer’s bill, the commission will be required to perform an annual audit, including plans for corrective actions, and submit the findings to the attorney general and Legislature.

“Now that the state budget is allocating a $100 million purse supplement to the racing commission over a five-year period, the statutory procedures to enforce internal controls with annual audits is even more essential and necessary,” added Dancer.

The Assembly Tourism, Gaming and the Arts Committee unanimously approved the bill on May 5. It has since been referred to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.