Casino horse racing leaders push for legalization of sports betting in N.J.


In an attempt to bail out New Jersey’s ailing casinos and race tracks¸ state legislators are looking to legalize sports betting to compensate for millions of dollars in lost revenue.But the National Football League is opposed to such a solution¸ and then there is a bigger hurdle — a 20-year-old federal ban on the expansion of sports betting.

That did not stop representatives of both Atlantic City’s casinos and the horse racing industry from telling a Senate panel today that is the best way to try to survive and compete with neighboring states offering other forms of legalizied gambling.

Thomas Luchento¸ president of the Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association of New Jersey¸ told the panel the horseracing industry dropped its pursuit of slot machines at tracks because it was promised stipends from Atlantic City’s casinos.

But now that Gov. Chris Christie has ended those subsidies¸ he said¸ “horse racing in New Jersey has been treated like a kid thrown into a pool expected to swim or sink in the abyss.” He said legalized sports betting represents the industry’s lifeline¸ noting that surrounding states have slot machines at their race tracks¸ and Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York has said he is is considering lifting his state’s ban on table games.

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