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New Jersey’s horse racing problems rooted in NFL wanderlust

Hess was a member of the Board of Directors of the Monmouth Park Jockey Club. By 1985, Hess had a deal for his Jets to play in the Meadowlands and New Jersey bought Monmouth Park from Hess and his fellow Jockey Club members for $45 million. The Hess-New Jersey negotiations for the football team move to New Jersey started in 1983 as did the Monmouth Park talks. The two negotiations were not linked.

At least not officially.

The state originally went after the Yankees in 1972 and thought a deal which about to be struck between Yankees owner CBS and a local New Jersey businessmen for about $13 million. New Jersey would have built a baseball park in the Meadowlands for the Yankees. In 1972, CBS Chairman William Paley told Yankees President Michael Burke to either sell the team or buy it himself. CBS could not put Yankees games on CBS' owned and operated WCBS-TV, Channel 2 in New York because of Federal Communication Commission rules. Back in 1972, that was where the real money on the team could have been made through TV advertising revenue and promotions. New Jersey officials felt that a deal to move the team to the state was imminent but Burke informed New Jersey interests that the team wasn't for sale near the end of 1972, A few days later, on January 3, 1973, Burke announced that a group led by George M. Steinbrenner III had purchased the club for $10 million (along with a $1.5 million tax credit).

The New York Yankees franchise remained in the Bronx.

New Jersey has to do something soon because of pressures from inside the state and external pressure has gambling money seeps into neighboring states. The longer politicians kick the can down the street, the harder it will be to solve New Jersey's horse racing and gambling problem.

Evan Weiner, the winner of the United States Sports Academy's 2010 Ronald Reagan Media Award, is an author, radio-TV commentator and speaker on "The Politics of Sports Business." His book, "The Business and Politics of Sports, Second Edition is available at or amazonkindle. He can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


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Comments (3)
3 Wednesday, 08 December 2010 18:09
Marilyn Lancelot
I am a recovering alcoholic, gambler, and other addiction problems. I published a book, Gripped by Gambling, where the readers can follow the destructive path of the compulsive gambler, a prison sentence, and then on to the recovery road. I recently finished a second book, Switching Addictions, describing the challenges the addict encounters as they work toward recovery. I also publish an online newsletter, Women Helping Women, which has been on-line for more than ten years and is read by women around the world. (


Marilyn Lancelot
2 Tuesday, 07 December 2010 11:32
John Samerjan
"The total was offset by contributions from Atlantic City casinos and taxpayers dollars"

1) the statement is untrue. The casinos provided supplement money for racing purses in return for racing not lobbying for gaming. Those funds went to horsemen not the racetracks. Secondly the taxpayers did not underwrite the net loss (on-track loss minus the net income from OTW and account wagering). That had been covered for three years by other NJSEA revenue.

2) the above comment is uninformed as well. The NJSEA finances are fully public and are fully independently audited. On track racing made net income up through 2006 when racinos were added in neighboring states. Reductions in personnel and operating expenses have kept those on-track losses down,
1 Tuesday, 07 December 2010 10:18
Bob English
Good points regarding competition from surrounding states that is now attracting NJ resident gambling $$. The future success of AC depends on booking conventions and people traveling in from out of state not on buses coming down the GSP from Northern NJ. Those people are going to NY or CT.

Until the NJSEA releases financial info and shows everyone which of its expenses are being charged to the horse racing component of the business, I would take any reports of "losses" with a grain of salt.

Please check out this Facebook page from the link below. Lots of great articles and info on the subject:!/pages/Save-New-Jersey-Horse-Racing-Allow-VLTs-at-the-Meadowlands/129193943805073

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