NJ Senate Committee OKs Instant Racing Bill

The machines could be located at racetracks, OTB facilities, and casino race books.

A New Jersey Senate committee Dec. 9 approved legislation that would authorize historical race wagering, also known as Instant Racing, at the state's racetracks, off-track wagering parlors, and casino race books.

The measure was passed by the Senate Government, Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation Committee. One of the sponsors is Republican Sen. Jennifer Beck, whose district includes Freehold Raceway.

Instant Racing machines, which resemble video lottery terminals but rely on the results of previously run races to determine the outcome of games, are in use in Arkansas and Kentucky and will be in Wyoming next year. In Kentucky, the state Supreme Court ultimately will rule on whether they are pari-mutuel in nature.

The New Jersey bill would permit interstate common-pooling of wagers made through Instant Racing machines. It sets the pari-mutuel takeout rate at no more than 20%.

Of that amount, the permit-holder would get 65% for operating expenses, marketing of the product, and "awards" not to exceed 25% of net win. Purse accounts would get 16% and breed development funds 1%. "Race technology fees" would total 15%, with another 3% for simulcast fees.

The splits for casino licensees would be reached via agreement between the casinos and racetracks.

The purse percentage can be used "for other purposes that benefit the racing and breeding industries" in New Jersey should an agreement be reached between the permit-holders and the groups that represent Thoroughbred and Standardbred horsemen in the state.

The New Jersey Racing Commission and the Division of Gaming Enforcement would promulgate rules and regulations for Instant Racing.