Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Huge buzz about NJ racing

Although neither has anything to do with postings about handicapping contests, I wanted to share four compelling articles either directly involving or with implications for the Garden State's live racing and casino programs:
  • Bill Finley's piece on, "Better days ahead for Monmouth?", identifies an angle that I overlooked in criticizing Governor Christie for getting into bed with the casino lobby and taking such a firm stand that threatened the state's teetering racing industry: no one expected anyone to really step forward with keen interest in taking over either the Meadowlands or Monmouth.
    • "Christie and the Atlantic City boys were outsmarted," Finley wrote, perhaps correcting speculating, too, that "the only plausible explanation for (Christie's) actions was that he wanted racing out of the way so that a casino could open at the Meadowlands and no one would have to share a dime with the racing industry. His fat cat friends in Atlantic City would have the money and what figured to be one of the most successful casinos in the world all to themselves." 
    • Citing industry insiders, Finley went on to suggest that casinos could become a reality at the Meadowlands within two years. I have have argued here for months that a very workable solution would have been to involve the AC casino interests in a revitalization of the Meadowlands and perhaps converting Xanadu into a gaming destination.
    • Either way, New Jersey is even further behind the times with New York soon to open casinos at Aqueduct and possibly Belmont in the very near future.
  • Speaking of which, John Brennan of the Record writes about the uncommon alliance of Jeff Gural and Morris Bailey, the respective "white knights" for the Meadowlands and Monmouth Park, both of whom have interests in the casino business as well and fortify the notion that at least one of the tracks (namely the Meadowlands) would make a great site for a casino and help stave off the outflow of New Jersey wagering dollars to Pennsylvania, New York and Delaware.  
    • (Of course, whether union propaganda or reality, Mr. Bailey and the ownership group for Resorts Atlantic City are cast in a bad light in this report from the Press of Atlantic City that AC's largest casino union is encouraging Resorts casino workers apply for food stamps, owing to low wages.) 
  • Anecdotally, a report on signals that both houses of the Illinois legislature passed a measure to allow slot gaming at the state's race tracks, which from afar is certainly worth watching for proponents of similar legislation here in New Jersey.  
  • And putting a bow on things, this Associated Press report essentially piles on AC, highlighting how the casino interests got drunk on early success and have driven the city to the ground with a dated business model, inability to enact sports gambling legislation and failing to react to the threat of gaming in NJ's neighboring states. The comments below that piece are actually pretty effective in articulating a small-sample view of what turns so many people off to AC, and why forsaking the racing industry to revitalize AC for the umpteenth time was a poor decision by our state's leadership.  I guess we can only hope that The Boss was right in saying that "maybe everything that dies someday comes back..."
    Bruce Springsteen - Atlantic City by jpdc11

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