New Jersey’s horse racing industry has been hammered for years by declining attendance and shrinking purses. It sees slot machines at racetracks as its best chance to survive.
Atlantic City’s casino industry has been paying millions in “subsidies’’ to the state’s tracks for years to forestall the arrival of racetrack slots.
State government is trying to resolve this knotty conflict involving two powerful and influential gaming industries. This month, a state commission began meeting to study the problem.
Press special reports writer John Froonjian has been looking into the issue for months. He’s examined studies and reports and analyzed the two gaming industries and their seemingly irreconcilable concerns, and he’s spent time talking to people with a stake in the outcome.
Through his research, two things became clear:
- Attempts by the state to reverse the racing industry’s falling fortunes have failed miserably.
- As the commission begins looking at options, the stakes have been raised. This time, the consequences of failure could reach beyond racetracks and gaming halls.