Racetracks push for casino gambling in plan to bring new life to racing

State horse racing operators are pushing for casino

State horse racing operators are pushing for casino gambling to come to the racetracks, giving gamblers more ways to place bets. (Credit: News 12 New Jersey)

EAST RUTHERFORD - State horse racing operators are pushing for casino gambling to come to the racetracks, giving gamblers more ways to place bets.

The operator of the Meadowlands racetrack, Jeff Gural, says the key to saving horse racing in New Jersey is to put gambling under the same roof. "I think long term, racing won't survive without this," he says.

Customers say they like having options, but a big hurdle has been a five-year plan that Gov. Chris Christie and the legislature have put in place to restore Atlantic City.  

Opponents worry that statewide gambling would rob Atlantic City of revenue. 

Gural says a new plan could require the casinos to kick money back to AC. 

Several of those playing the ponies Tuesday say a push to diversify wouldn't be a bad thing, adding casino gambling could bring some new blood into the room.

"When they first opened up, a lot of women came, now no more women," says John Stuben. "You don't see any young people here."

Gural says the racetracks are getting younger and more diverse crowds, but the trouble is most of those casual observers don't bet a lot.

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