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Bill to Allow Horse Racing & Wagering on Atlantic City Beach

Burzichelli Bill to Allow for Horse Racing & Wagering on Atlantic City Beach & Wagering At Far Hills Race Meeting Get Final Legislative OK


(TRENTON) – Legislation Assembly Democrat John Burzichelli sponsored to further promote Atlantic City by allowing it to host betting on horse races on the beach this October was approved 74-0 Thursday by the Assembly, giving it final legislative approval.


The bill (A-4149) would authorize the New Jersey Racing Commission to grant a special permit – to permit holders in good standing authorized to conduct running races - to hold or conduct a special running race meeting on the beach.

Burzichelli said the bill would enable Atlantic City to host the American Palio Celebration.

"This has all the making of a fun and great event, the type of which we've been trying to lure to Atlantic City to highlight it as a top-flight entertainment destination," said Burzichelli (D-Gloucester/Salem/Cumberland). "This will attract horse fans, sports fans, families and those simply looking to see a unique event on the beach in the autumn. Changing state law to allow for this great promotion is the least we can do as we continue striving to make Atlantic City a great place to visit and spend time."

Under additional provisions, the bill authorizes the commission to grant a special permit to conduct a steeplechase race meeting at a location other than a racetrack, provided that the special steeplechase race meeting is conducted in conjunction with an organization that has experience conducting steeplechase races and provided that the special steeplechase race meeting is recognized by the National Steeplechase and Hunt Association. 

This would allow people to wager at the annual Far Hills Race Meeting, which has helped raise money for the Somerset Medical Center’s cancer center each fall. 

The Atlantic City American Palio will be a series of horse races conducted on the beach in Atlantic City on Friday, Oct. 11 and Sunday, Oct . The event is an Americanization of Palio, a race in Siena, Italy, that has been run for the past 700 years.  In Siena, the horses race one half mile around the Town Square, while the American version will have horses competing in the American classic distance of three-quarters of a mile on the Atlantic City beach. 

American Palio will have a total of 50 horses competing in a series of elimination races that will narrow the field to the 10 runners who will race for the American Palio Championship.

"We can all look forward to a fun and interesting weekends built around our horse industry," Burzichelli said. "This is all part of our overall effort to bolster our horse industry and at the same time boost our tourism and economy.”

The bill now goes to the governor.

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