Bill: Monmouth would get $50 million for purses over five years

By: Tom LaMarra

Posted: Oct. 7, 2018

New Jersey lawmakers have officially introduced legislation that would provide purser supplements for the racing industry, and the current version calls for a five-year commitment from the state.

The bill is sponsored by Sens. Vin Gopal, Paul Sarlo and Steven Oroho, all of central and northern New Jersey, and Sen. Richard Cody, who also represents the northern part of the state. The measure calls for $100 million—$20 million each year over five fiscal years beginning with fiscal 2019—to come from the state’s general fund.

Monmouth Park would get $50 million for purses over five years under the language in the measure.

Purse supplements that ended soon after former governor Gov. Chris Christie took office were derived from payments from Atlantic City casinos in exchange for the horseracing industry not pursuing casino-style gambling.

Monmouth, Meadowlands and Freehold Raceway would receive a cut of the annual supplements, as would the Standardbred breeding industry. On the Thoroughbred side, all the funds would be used to increases purses at Monmouth.

The legislation mandates that receipts of the funds “file an annual report with the New Jersey Racing Commission that documents the purposes for which those funds were used and the amounts allocated for those purposes.” The annual report must include information on the impact on pari-mutuel handle, field size, number of New Jersey-bred runners and state-bred winners, and number of foals and broodmares in the state.

Of the $20 million each year, each breed would get $10 million. So Monmouth, which also operates a short all-turf Thoroughbred meet at Meadowlands, would get $10 million for purses; Meadowlands would receive $6 million for harness purses, and Freehold $1.6 million for purses; New Jersey Sire Stakes purses would receive $1.2 million; New Jersey-sired Standardbreds would get $600,000 in purse bonuses; and Standardbred breeder awards would get $600,000.

The bill was referred to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee Sept. 24.

(Monmouth Park photo by Tom LaMarra)