By Neil Shulman
Oceanport — Another bill which would have allowed slot machines at racetracks in New Jersey has been killed without a vote.
At the Dec. 14 Borough Council meeting, Councilman Joe Irace said that the Assembly had passed a bill which would have allowed “slot parlors” at racetracks, as long as they were operated by a casino associated with Atlantic City.
It’s never getting to the governor’s desk to be signed though, because Senate President Steve Sweeney won’t let it go to the floor there.
“Sen. Sweeney said no way, I’m not passing this bill,” Irace said.
Almost every state with racetracks, including all of the ones around New Jersey, supplements the purses with proceeds from local casinos. Atlantic City has steadfastly refused to do this, arguing that the fact Monmouth Park is less than 70 miles from there would cause them to lose too much business.
Oceanport has been skeptical of this argument, especially because there are Pennsylvania casinos closer to Atlantic City than the track.
But at the moment, Monmouth Park is struggling. Though incoming governor Phil Murphy is expected to be more sympathetic to the track than the current administration.
In what is probably good news, the U.S. Supreme Court heard a case about whether New Jersey can legalize sports betting at tracks and casinos. Mayor Jay Coffey says that based on the questions the justices asked, it appears that the final ruling will be 6-3 or 5-4 in the state’s favor.
That could bring much-needed revenue and visitors to the track.
“It’s not the panacea for all the ills that affect Monmouth Park Racetrack. We hope it’s the first step,” Coffey said.