Saturday August 31,2013 : NEW JERSEY STEEPLECHASERS QUERY ONLINE GAMBLING LAW
A new law allowing online gambling from Atlantic City beaches could be a problem for an inland event
The residents of the Far Hills community in New Jersey have asked Governor Chris Christie to hold off on a signing a new law designed to permit online gambling from Atlantic City beaches.
They fear that the law could have unintended side effects on the community and want more information before the legalization is signed into state law.
Far Hills is the setting for the Far Hills Race Meeting aka The Hunt, a steeplechase event that attracts crowds of up to 30,000 fans and provides funding for the local hospital foundation.
“Once you allow online gambling, what happens to people who want to gamble with actual cash?” Far Hills mayor Paul Vallone said to The Daily Record newspaper Friday. “Who provides security and oversight? Is it something we even want to have here where there are families and kids?”
Vallone claims that Far Hills residents first learned about the gambling provision in a meeting last month, when race officials said they hoped to allow offsite, telecasting and Internet cloud-based betting in 2014.
The newspaper reports that the gambling provision, which the non-profit Far Hills Race Meeting Association lobbied for, was quietly inserted into bills originally meant to allow horse race gambling on the beaches of Atlantic City.
The legalization was passed unanimously by the New Jersey Assembly and Senate late June 2013.
Residents claim that no-one bothered to tell the Far Hills community about the amendment – not even Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick, a primary sponsor of the bill and one of lawmakers representing the borough.
Mayor Vallone has invited Bramnick and race officials to a Far Hills Borough Council meet on September 9, to discuss the implications of the new law.
Residents have been scarred by bad behaviour in recent years at an annual tailgating event, which has brought with it hard-drinking, unruly crowds, and worry about the impact of gambling.