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NJ commission on Horse Racing holds meeting

May 28, 2009

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New Jersey\'s Governor’s Commission on the Horse Racing Industry held its first meeting on Wednesday, May 27, and introduced some of the issues that will be addressed at monthly meetings of the 15-member group as well as through smaller working groups.

The two-hour opening session was held in the State House Annex in Trenton.

“Our task is to answer the question of whether horse racing is viable and what business model we should adopt in this economic climate,” said Robert Bildner, who chairs the Commission. “Mr. (Tom) Luchento (president of the Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association of New Jersey) mentioned the ‘perfect storm’ and that might be apt. Atlantic City’s revenues are down and construction has stalled, there is new gaming in Pennsylvania and a push for legalization of internet gambling.”

Luchento pointed out that time was of the essence in finding a solution to the long term health of the racing industry in New Jersey.

“The longer we wait, everyone else will cannibalize us as the other states are cannibalizing Atlantic City’s casinos,” Luchento noted. “We’re here for the long haul. Racing will survive. But what will it look like?”

The Commission brings together representatives of the public, state agencies and the legislature. In addition to Luchento and Bildner, the Commission includes Summit Mayor Jordan Glatt, New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association President Dennis Drazin, Trump Hotel’s Mark Juliano, Harrah’s David Satz, New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority CEO Dennis Robinson, Casino Reinvestment Development Authority’s Thomas Carver, Office of Economic Growth Chief Jerold Zaro, Economic Development Authority CEO Caren Franzini, State Senator Jennifer Beck, Assemblyman John Burzichelli and Camden Freeholder Jeffrey Nash. One additional position remains to be filled. (SBOA/New Jersey)

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