For Immediate Release: August 10, 2010
Press Contact: Shane Derris (732) 739 8888 or Dems.Monmouth@gmail.com
Freeholder Candidates John D’Amico and Janice Venables are extremely disappointed with the recent findings of the Governor’s Advisory Commission on NJ Gaming, Sports and Entertainment and the Governor’s strong support for its suggestions. Freeholder D’Amico said, “Closure of Monmouth Park on top of the closure of Fort Monmouth would devastate the economy and quality of life of Monmouth County. This year’s successful meet should motivate us to sustain and improve the racetrack, not shut it down.”
Venables, a Spring Lake Councilwoman, said “A dismantled horse racing industry would threaten as many as 13,000 jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars of taxable revenue that the state and municipalities depend upon to pay for essential services. Over the last several years, the better horses and jockeys have gravitated to other states that allow slot machines and can offer greater prizes because of increased revenue and attendance. It is time New Jersey reads the writing on the wall. We must bring slot machines to the racetracks or face the destruction of the industry in the entire state. The increased revenue garnered by “racinos” in surrounding states has saved numerous racetracks from closing their doors, and most professionals agree this is the biggest hurdle facing the industry. We call upon the Governor and the Legislature to take the necessary steps to place the “racino” option on the ballot in November so that the racing industry can join the Atlantic City casinos as a major contributor to taxpayer relief, education, and programs for senior citizens.”
Pending the holding of a ballot referendum, D’Amico and Venables suggest that the following steps be taken: (1) Renewal of the annual casino revenue supplement of $30 million for the racing industry; (2) A substantial increase in the number of off-track wagering facilities pursuant to the 2001 authorizing legislation; (3) Possible purchase from the Meadowlands Authority of the development rights to the Monmouth Park property with the stipulation that the funds be used to support the racing industry; and (4) Stronger measures to support the Standard Bred Racing Industry.
Venables said, “We don’t object to the sale of the facilities to private investors, but they won’t want to buy the race tracks if they cannot make any money. The Governor seems to have decided that the Atlantic City casinos are more important than the horse racing industry and its supporting infrastructure throughout the state. Yet the report to the Governor states, for example, that 2,100 slots at the Meadowlands would cost Atlantic City gaming revenue a mere .01% loss. This minor drop in Atlantic City revenue could save New Jersey’s and Monmouth County’s horse racing industry.”
D’Amico observed that “at a time when Monmouth County is suffering from already excessive suburban sprawl and traffic congestion, we can ill afford to lose the thousands of beautiful acres dedicated to horse racing and its supporting industries. Preservation of the horse racing industry in Monmouth County is not only critical to the economy but is also essential to the preservation of the quality of life we have come to cherish and enjoy.”