New Jersey eyes cut­ting in horse tracks on in­ter­net gam­bling

El Dorado News-Times - - Fun & Games -

TREN­TON, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey law­mak­ers want to give the state's horse rac­ing tracks a piece of the ac­tion on in­ter­net gam­bling.

The state Assem­bly on Thurs­day passed a bill that would au­tho­rize tracks to of­fer in­ter­net gam­bling on their premises if they reach a part­ner­ship agree­ment with an At­lantic City casino or an on­line af­fil­i­ate of a casino. Demo­cratic Assem­bly­man Ralph Ca­puto says it's a way to help the strug­gling rac­ing in­dus­try with new rev­enue.

"It would bring more traf­fic into the race­tracks, and they need it des­per­ately," said Ca­puto, a for­mer casino ex­ec­u­tive.

Gam­blers with in­ter­net bet­ting ac­counts al­ready can place bets from any­where within New Jersey's bor­ders, and don't need to go to a track to do so.

"The casi­nos should re­al­ize that ab­so­lutely noth­ing will hap­pen un­less they agree to al­low it through an agree­ment with a track," said Den­nis Drazin, chair­man and CEO of the Mon­mouth Park race­track in Ocean­port. "No­body is forc­ing any­thing on them. This is re­ally a win-win for the rac­ing in­dus­try and the casino in­dus­try."

Sup­port­ers en­vi­sion track pa­trons plac­ing on­line casino bets be­tween races. The track would be com­pen­sated by the casino for drum­ming up new on­line busi­ness; the ex­act amount each track would get from a casino would have to be ne­go­ti­ated in­di­vid­u­ally.

Drazin said tracks would set aside an area for cus­tomers to place casino bets over the in­ter­net. The tracks would be specif­i­cally ex­empted from state law ban­ning so-called "in­ter­net cafes" that of­fer real-money gam­bling.

The Casino As­so­ci­a­tion of New Jersey did not re­spond to a re­quest for com­ment on the bill.

In­ter­net gam­bling has been a bright spot in New Jersey's gam­bling mar­ket. On pace to win $250 mil­lion on­line this year, New Jersey has the largest mar­ket of the three states that cur­rently of­fer in­ter­net gam­bling (Penn­syl­va­nia re­cently ap­proved it but has not started of­fer­ing it yet).

Delaware al­lows in­ter­net gam­bling through casi­nos based at race­tracks.

The state Sen­ate has not yet sched­uled a vote on the mea­sure, which is be­ing con­sid­ered in a com­mit­tee.

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