Dancer bills that address horse racing subsidies, live racing, clear committee

Dancer bills that address horse racing subsidies, live racing, clear committee

Ron Dancer

TRENTON, N.J. – The Assembly Tourism & Gaming Committee on Monday released two of Assemblyman Ron Dancer’s New Jersey horse racing bills.

The horse racing industry for years has received state subsidies for its purses. The 2021 state budget slashed $5 million from what had been a $20 million subsidy. One of Dancer’s bills (A6024) would restore that $5 million to the New Jersey Racing Commission’s budget for horse racing purse subsidies.

The industry had previously enjoyed a $30 million annual subsidy from Atlantic City casinos, under the condition that tracks not offer slot machines. The subsidy was slashed in 2011 when Monmouth Park, the Meadowlands, and Freehold Raceway were privatized, but was partially restored in 2019. The subsidy was considered for the chopping block two years later, but the governor and legislators reached a compromise of $15 million.

“Our racetracks not only provide entertainment, but also thousands of jobs,” Dancer (R-Ocean) said. “My bill ensures the purses remain attractive, revenue for racetracks remains stable, and jobs remain in New Jersey.”

The committee also released another Dancer bill (A2256), which requires the continuation of live horse racing at Standardbred racetracks that hold sports wagering licenses. Such tracks would also be required to hold a minimum of 151 Standardbred race dates, with limited exceptions.

“The horse racing industry is very important to the state, as it not only provides thousands of jobs but generates millions of dollars in tax revenue while also supporting open space,” Dancer said. “My bill will protect the Standardbred racing industry by ensuring live horse racing continues.”

Dancer’s bills now go to the Assembly speaker for consideration.