Racetracks to play no part in N.J. Internet gambling

A bill to allow Internet betting on casino games is making its way though the New Jersey Legislature.

Tom Luchento, the president of the Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association of New Jersey, Tuesday urged lawmakers to allow race tracks to be a part of the Internet wagering system.

“If Internet gaming was permitted commercially at racetracks, then it actually could be a tool to help improve attendance and add diversity to the types of wagering offered for horse racing fans,” he said.

But without amending the state constitution, racetracks cannot be included, said Sen. Jen Beck, R-Monmouth.

“Otherwise, the tracks would have (video lottery terminals) right now. They’re not allowed to have games of chance and by housing the transactions at the tracks, you would be allowing that to occur,” she said.

The servers to accept the Internet bets would be located in Atlantic City to comply with the constitutional requirement that all casino gambling in New Jersey takes place there.

“Atlantic City already offers race book rooms where casino patrons can place pari-mutuel wagers on simulcast horseraces, Luchenko argues. “So allowing Internet wagering rooms at race tracks is not an unusual concept. Without including the race tracks in this bill, you would be helping the casino industry at the expense of the racing industry.”

Sen. Paul Sarlo, D-Bergen, abstained Tuesday when the Senate Budget Committee voted to advance the measure because the state’s race tracks are not included in Internet wagering.

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