NJ Purse Money Split, But Governor Must OK

The NJRC has divvied up funds for purses, but the governor may object.

The New Jersey Racing Commission, in what could end up being nothing more than a symbolic gesture, has divvied up $15 million in casino money that would be used for purses in 2012 should Republican Gov. Chris Christie approve.

The money is from the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, which deals with casino gambling in Atlantic City. The money was part of earlier legislation designed to bolster Atlantic City casinos and free the state from involvement in horse racing.

Christie, however, in the past indicated he probably won’t approve use of the $15 million for purses.

The NJRC met June 30 at Monmouth Park. According to the Standardbred Owners and Breeders Association of New Jersey, $7.5 million would be used for Thoroughbred purses and $7.5 million for harness racing purses.

Monmouth would get $5 million--$2.5 million plus another $2.5 million for the Thoroughbred license at Meadowlands; Atlantic City Race Course, $2.5 million; Meadowlands, for harness racing, $5 million; and Freehold Raceway, $2.5 million.

ACRC officials have said they would add racing dates if purse money becomes available. The southern New Jersey track this year raced six days in the spring.

Christie has yet to sign off on lease agreements for Monmouth and Meadowlands, though that’s considered a formality.

For years Monmouth and Meadowlands, both operated by the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, relied heavily on purse supplements paid by casinos in exchange for horse racing not pursuing video lottery terminals. The purse supplements ended in 2010, and Christie said there would be no more.

Freehold shared in part of the purse supplement at the urging of the SBOANJ, while ACRC received no money.