Atlantic City Race Course would receive close to $1 million for capital improvements in 2012 under a proposal released May 19 by state lawmakers from a legislative gaming committee, according to The Press of Atlantic City.
The newspaper reported the track would retain 90% of the Casino Simulcast Fund, a special fund set up in the 1990s when the casinos began simulcasting horse races. The fund was designed to offset the loss of simulcast business at racetracks. Last year, the Atlantic City track received only 7% of the fund, with the bulk of it going to the larger racetracks, including Meadowlands and Monmouth Park.
The bill’s proposal would overturn the current way that money is distributed.
ACRC conducts a six-day live meet annually.
Under the bill, ACRC would be given 90% of the fund annually, provided it uses the money in the first year mostly for capital improvements. In the future, the bill says, the money could help pay for additional live race days at the site, The Press reported.
“We believe we deserve a slice of the pie. I respectfully submit this is our slice of the pie,” Maureen Bugdon, president of ACRC, told the committee., adding the track was in “financial distress.”
Under the new proposal, it would be the larger tracks that would split a small percentage: the state-run Meadowlands and Monmouth Park and private Freehold Raceway would split the remaining 10% equally.
An amendment also ruled out using any of the money for purse subsidies.
The newspaper reported the bill faces strong opposition from horsemen’s groups.