Account Wagering Bill Introduced in New Jersey

After much delay, a bill which would legalize off-track and account,
or phone, wagering in New Jersey has been introduced into the legislature. On March 8, A3315, sponsored by Assemblymen Guy Gregg and Joe Roberts, was introduced into the Assembly; on March 15, the Senate version of the bill, sponsored by Martha Bark, was introduced.

The main point of contention between the N. J. Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association and the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, the state-run agency which owns and operates Monmouth Park and Meadowlands, which had delayed the bill's introduction was the minimum number of live race dates required for an OTB permit. The two parties agreed on 141 dates with a "step-down" provision, which allowed for the number of dates to be gradually reduced by the NJSEA if business warranted. That "step-down" language was removed from the legislation recently introduced, however, which concerned the NJTHA, according to its president, Bud Keegan.

Keegan said that, while the NJTHA was disappointed the "step-down" language was eliminated, it was encouraged that there was finally some movement in getting OTBs and phone wagering off the ground.

"It's been a dreadfully slow process," said Keegan, "but we can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel."