July 4, 2024 – On Friday, lawmakers in New Jersey passed two legislation pertaining to horse betting to stabilize and sustain the racing business financially.

The legislature's two houses agreed to keep the $20 million yearly horse racing purse subsidy in place. Both Senate Bill S3203 and Assembly Bill A2610 received unanimous votes on Friday.

The horse betting business welcomed Gov. Phil Murphy's 2019 approval of an initial $100 million over five years to fund purses. The most recent bill increases those monies by an additional five years.

Funding for the Sports Niche

The state's general fund will provide the $20 million subsidy. The other half will go to harness racing, and the other half to Monmouth Park to sustain thoroughbred purses.

When asked about the extra boost in funding, the CEO of Monmouth Park, Dennis Drazin had a lot to say. “This $10 million helps us remain competitive with other East Coast tracks and attract top-quality horses to New Jersey,” Dennis Drazin, CEO of Monmouth Park, told LSR on Monday. “Gov. Murphy has always had the industry’s back, and we expect him to sign the bill,” Drazin adds.

The money is only intended to support racing purses. The track operations at Monmouth Park, where construction of a new Caesars Sportsbook is underway, will not be supported by it. The best horses are usually drawn to higher prizes, which in turn draws more horseplayers. The tracks use the increased money from greater horse betting to pay for operations, development projects, purses, and other expenses.

The Jockey Club reports that Monmouth Park awarded prizes of $28.4 million for 541 races in the previous year. In 2010, 50 racing days with payouts of an average of $1 million were offered at Monmouth Park in collaboration with the state government.

Racing purses reached a 20-year high in the middle of the 2000s when $67.8 million was given out in 2007. New Jersey held around 1,200 thoroughbred races in 2003; however, in the last few years, that number has been slashed in half.

“We want to run more, but having more races means we could not be as competitive with purses,” Drazin adds.”

Future Additional Revenue

In order to compete with the upcoming casinos slated to open around New York City, Drazin wants to provide more gaming to New Jersey.

Finding a means to maintain that business in New Jersey is the goal, he continued. He recommended a casino or playing slots at Monmouth Park or the Meadowlands. Retail sportsbooks are currently available on-site at both racetracks.