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Gulotta: NJ Industry In Its Best Position In Years

Mike-Gulotta.jpg

Published: January 20, 2010 2:09 pm ET

Last Comment: January 21, 2010 3:11 pm ET | 1 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

While many of the horse racing industry's fans, participants and observers have foreseen a bleak future for the state of New Jersey, horse owner and breeder Mike Gulotta, who is part of a transition committee for new governor Chris Christie, has said that the state's industry is in its best position in years.

In conversation with Trot Radio's Norm Borg, the CEO of Deo Volente Farm explained why he has a positive outlook regarding New Jersey's racing future.

"The thing that I think people need to know is that Chris Christie, who we supported to a large extent with a great effort -- a fundraiser…we raised almost $100,000 for him in one day at Deo Volente Farms, harnessing or canvassing the entire harness industry -- he promised the people at that fundraiser, and he's said it publically elsewhere, that he wants the horse racing and breeding industry in New Jersey to be vibrant and to be competitive once again," said Gulotta.

"I was appointed to the transition team -- his (Christie's) transition team. I have been working on gaming, sports and entertainment. The report of that transition team will be provided to the governor. Until then, I'm not really at liberty to talk about what is in there, but I think that we are in the best position that we have been in a long, long time."

Borg then pointed out that, in terms of added funding, it seems like the New Jersey horse racing industry is always at the mercy of the state's casino industry.

"That's correct," Gulotta said. "There was a purse enhancement agreement back in 2008 that lasts for three years; so therefore it ends in 2010. While that is true, we have to keep in focus that the horse racing and breeding industry in New Jersey pays, in taxes to the state, $115 million a year, and that's without the rippling effect, or what we call the economic multiplier. With the economic multiplier, that number balloons to about three quarters of a billion dollars a year, so it is a very important industry in the state of New Jersey.

"And also, the casino industry is another very important industry in the state of New Jersey. So, you don't want to sacrifice one (industry) to keep the other; actually, what you want to do is bolster both, so that both can contribute more to the economic well-being of the state."

Borg then asked why, in particular, Gulotta feels that the New Jersey horse racing industry is in such a good spot now. Gulotta responded by saying: "I think it's in a very good spot because Chris did promise to make the industry more competitive and vibrant than what it has been. He'll get us and the casinos together. He's not about to give away a great industry."

Having openly acknowledged that Gulotta is not in a position to comment on what options for the industry have been discussed, Borg asked Gulotta about the possibility of full-blown racinos at New Jersey racetracks.

"Obviously, there is always a consideration," Gulotta said. "There are other ways of accomplishing the goals, but it's really premature."

January 21, 2010 - 3:11 pmWell, we are off to a bad

Allan Schott SAID...

Well, we are off to a bad start. Back in 2006, Atlantic City casinos and the racetracks were shut down as a result of a budget impasse which shut the state down, despite the fact that both industries pay for the state employees required to monitor and regulate their industries.

So yesterday, on Governor Christie's first full day in office, he issued an executive order (http://nj.gov/infobank/circular/eocc6.pdf) which will allow the casino control commission to stay in business in the event there is another shutdown of the state due to a budget impasse. No mention of allowing the state employees who monitor and regulate racing to remain on the job in the same situation; no executive order for racing despite the fact that the racing industry pays for its own regulators.

I think it is clear where Governor Christie's sentiments lie. Based on this first day action, it is not a good sign for racing.


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