Governor Christie aims to overhaul gaming industry in New Jersey

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July 22, 2010

By Kyle Maichle

EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey: As the possibility of a sports betting referendum could be on the November 2010 ballot, Governor Chris Christie announced his plans to overhaul the gaming and entertainment industries in New Jersey[1].

During a press conference held on the 50-yard line of the new Meadowlands Stadium, the Governor announced on July 21, 2010, the results of a study he commissioned to find solutions towards revitalizing gaming and entertainment. Governor Christie's plan calls for revitalizing the Atlantic City gaming district, privatizing the horse racing industry, and overhauling the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority.

With Atlantic City losing money to neighboring states like Pennsylvania and New York, the Governor calls for the state to take over the entertainment and gaming districts. The plan also calls for adding non-gaming attractions in Atlantic City in order to spur more private investment. Since 2007, Atlantic City has lost 25 percent of its revenue base to neighboring states[1].

Horse racing in New Jersey would be privatized by selling the Meadowlands horse racing track. Governor Christie said: "I don’t have the money to subsidize failure," which indicates the report's findings that the state is losing money from horse racing. Also, the plan could end horse racing at the Meadowlands and move races to Monmouth Park and Atlantic City. The Governor would allow thoroughbred owners to have a opportunity to own the Meadowlands race track[1][2].

The New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, which governs sports venues like the Meadowlands, would be divested of its major responsibilities. The plan would call for venues owned by the Authority including the IZOD Center to be sold to private investors. Also, the NJSEA would be required to have a budget that breaks even by 2011[1]. The study calls for the Authority to be run as a landlord-type operation in order to keep the agency financially stable[3].

The study was part of an Executive Order signed by the Governor on February 3, 2010[1].

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