The Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey (SBOANJ) announced recently that its efforts to aid passage of the referendum to open two new casinos in North Jersey this November will continue despite the suspension of the campaign aimed at encouraging voters to support gaming beyond the boundaries of Atlantic City.
SBOANJ President Mark Ford expressed his frustration with the suspension of the ‘Our Turn NJ’ campaign, which was working hard to educate voters on the benefits the new casinos could bring to North Jersey. After the results of a poll from Rutgers University’s Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling indicated that voter support for the referendum had dropped from 50 percent to just 37 percent, Meadowlands racetrack owner Jeff Gural and billionaire Paul Fireman, the two main backers of the ‘Our Turn NJ’ campaign, announced last week that they would be pulling the plug on the statewide campaign.
Ford said, “Our members now must use our limited financial resources to drive the message to voters that a YES vote on Question 1 will provide our industry with additional revenue to continue offering the residents and taxpayers of New Jersey important entertainment and quality of life benefits. Even if others are stepping back from the fight, the horsemen have no choice but to step up and do our part,” according to the SBOANJ.
Gural, who along with the Meadowlands Racetrack runs the racinos Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs in New York, wanted to partner with Hard Rock International to develop a casino at the racetrack in the East Rutherford sports complex, while billionaire Paul Fireman wanted to develop a $5 billion casino resort in Jersey City.
Voters in the state will decide on November 8 whether or not to end Atlantic City’s almost four-decade long casino gambling monopoly and allow two casinos to open for business in North Jersey. If voters approve the New Jersey Allowance for Casinos in Two Additional Counties Amendment, also known as Public Question 1, the New Jersey Legislature could sign off on building two new casinos in the northern part of the state. A percentage of the state tax revenue from the new casinos would be earmarked for the horse racing industry; something that horsemen in competing states already receive.
A series of public appearances, media interviews, and social media events have been scheduled by the SBOANJ. The Association hopes to highlight its membership and the benefits they bring to their respective towns and communities.