New Jersey Lawmakers Invest $20 Million Into Horse Racing Across 5 Years

Written By Corey Sharp on July 2, 2024
Image of Monmouth Park in New Jersey for a story on legislation that would invest $20 million for horse racing in New Jersey over the next five years.

Horse racing in New Jersey is getting a significant financial boost as two bills were approved last week.

Both pieces of legislation approved a $20 million subsidy for horse racing purses.

The new deal gives horse betting in New Jersey a leg to stand on to compete with other tracks up and down the east coast. It’s possible other forms of gambling could be added to racetracks, too.

Distribution of NJ horse racing funds

The New Jersey horse racing industry is subject to $20 million a year over the next five years. It’s similar to the deal Gov. Phil Murphy signed in 2019. The approved bills, A2610 and S3203, ultimately extended the agreement another five years.

“Gov. Murphy has always had the industry’s back, and we expect him to sign the bill,” Dennis Drazin, CEO of Monmouth Park, told Legal Sports Report on Monday.

Half of the money will support thoroughbred purses at Monmouth Park, while the other half goes to harness racing. Receiving that kind of financial support is big for Monmouth Park, Drazin told LSR.

“This $10 million helps us remain competitive with other East Coast tracks and attract top-quality horses to New Jersey.”

The funding is strictly supposed to be used for purse sizes at Monmouth Park and not track operations.

Could additional gaming be added to Monmouth Park?

As Drazin alluded, the additional purse money is going to help the track remain competitive in terms of a betting standpoint. It’s possible that more gaming could come to the track, too, in the form of slots.

Along with offering online sports betting in New Jersey, Monmouth Park is in the process of adding a Caesars Sportsbook to the property. The sportsbook area will feature 16,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor viewing space. It will will have oversized LED walls and direct views of the track along with a full bar and a Shake Shack restaurant.

A new sports betting space will certainly bring additional people to the track. Those that aren’t horse bettors could potentially turn themselves into ones.

Another way to attract even more customers would be the inclusion of slot machines. That would be reliant upon two bills being passed, which were introduced in January.

Sen. Joseph Pennacchio, R-Morris, is an advocate of allowing slots at New Jersey racetracks.

“We are leaving untapped money on the table,” he said in a prepared statement in February.

There are multiple benefits of bringing slots to racetracks, including the competition it could provide to potential New York City casinos.

Horse racing in New Jersey is now taken care of, with the potential of major reinforcements on the way.

Photo by Seth Wenig / AP Photo
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Corey Sharp

Corey Sharp serves as the lead writer for PlayNJ after joining Catena Media in 2022. Born and raised in Philadelphia, he previously worked for the Philadelphia Inquirer and NBC Sports Philadelphia as a sports writer and content producer. As lead writer for PlayNJ, Corey heads up a talented team of expert journalists and analysts to bring you the most comprehensive coverage of gambling news in New Jersey.

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