In an attempt to increase revenues, the state of New Jersey has announced plans that would see punters allowed to place bets on horse races using Internet-enabled mobile devices from next year.
The New Jersey Sports And Exposition Authority operates the Meadowlands and Monmouth Park racetracks in the eastern American state and revealed in a budget statement last week that the tracks are set to lose $16.9 million for this year. According to a piece in The Star Ledger newspaper, things are set to get even worse for the state's two publicly owned tracks with an expected shortfall for 2009 of $20.8 million.
The Authority stated that it expects revenues of $238.5 million for 2009, which is five million dollars less than it made in 2008, and has instituted a hiring freeze for next year in order to cut costs. According to Dennis Robinson, Chief Executive Officer for the New Jersey Sports And Exposition Authority, the regulator saw a two percent increase in total betting for this year despite a six percent national decline.
However, the Authority’s Giants Stadium continues to be the top-grossing venue of its kind in the world and earned nearly $26.5 million this year with the nearby Izod Center taking in $37.8 million to remain as the fourth top-grossing arena in the country.
In addition, income from Internet, phone and off-track wagering is rising and the Authority predicted such operations would take in $9.3 million after expenses next year, roughly $220,000 more than was seen in 2008.
Horse breeders and owners have argued that the tracks should be allowed to run slot machines but casinos have opposed such plans because this competition would hurt their businesses in Atlantic City. Casinos are currently paying $90 million in exchange for an agreement from the Authority not to add slots before the end of 2011.