Historical Horse Racing Bill Filed in New Jersey

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By T. D. Thornton

A bill to permit gambling on historical horse racing (HHR) has been filed in the New Jersey Legislature.

But the measure, which would allow slot-machine style betting on anonymized recordings of past horse races at racetracks and off-track-betting locations, needs to be approved via an amendment to the state’s constitution before it can become legal.

In New Jersey, amending the state’s constitution is a multi-step process.

The first requires legislative approval. If both the General Assembly and the Senate pass Concurrent Resolution No. 196 by a three-fifths majority, the proposed amendment goes up for a statewide public vote at the next general election.

If the bill instead passes by only a simple majority in both the Assembly and Senate, it must survive back-to-back majority votes in two consecutive legislative sessions (i.e., one pass during 2018 and a second during 2019) before it can appear on the next statewide ballot.

In either instance, a majority “yes” vote in the statewide general election would then be required to amend the state constitution to allow HHR.

The bipartisan bill, which was filed Oct. 18 by Republican Rep. Ronald Dancer and Democrat Rep. Valerie Huttle, contains the following one-paragraph proposed amendment:

It shall also be lawful for the Legislature to authorize, by law, the specific kind, restrictions and control of wagering on previously-recorded horse races from which identifying information has been removed, with wagers placed at licensed racetracks or off-track wagering facilities by persons who are physically present there or by persons who place wagers remotely. The State’s share of revenues derived therefrom shall be used for such purposes as shall be provided by law.

According to an explanatory statement filed with the bill, the specific rules governing HHR would be addressed by the passage of new regulations by the legislature, similar to how the state’s legal infrastructure for sports betting was rolled out earlier this year.

 

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