Three New Jersey racetracks will receive the largest share of almost $1 million accrued in the Casino Simulcasting Special Fund in 2012.
The fund, created to offset revenue lost by racetracks when Atlantic City casinos first began offering full-card simulcasts, has declined on an annual basis. Fewer casinos now have race books, and overall pari-mutuel handle in New Jersey has declined.
The New Jersey Racing Commission formed a committee to analyze the numbers and make recommendations on the dispersal of about $981,000. The NJRC approved the plan Nov. 21.
Officials at Atlantic City, which races the fewest dates of any track in the state, have long argued state law was designed to protect the racetrack closest to the casinos. The track. open year-round for full-card simulcasts, is located about 15 miles from the casinos.
Atlantic City requested 90% of the funds generated in 2012, but the NJRC disagreed. Commissioners said the financial health of all four tracks has been negatively impacted by various economic factors, but the "most viable racetracks are the greatest affected."
Atlantic City, which again applied for only six racing days in 2014, has said it would offer more racing if it has supplemental revenue for purses. The NJRC indicated it believes the money is better spent at the other three tracks that have more established racing programs.
Monmouth was approved for 71 racing days next year-–57 at Monmouth and 14 at New Meadowlands. On the harness side, New Meadowlands will race 81 days and Freehold 110 days.
Meanwhile, the Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association of New Jersey will get $98,000 from the fund. The New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association and Thoroughbred Breeders Association of New Jersey will each receive $49,000.
In noting the payments to breed organizations, NJRC member Anthony Abbatiello said: "We have to do everything we can to keep our horses in the state."
NJRC executive director Frank Zanzuccki noted the commission couldn't meet the full requests by all organizations because of revenue declines in the special fund. He said the 2012 amount is 12.3% less than what was available in 2011.