(The Center Square) – The New Jersey Assembly Tourism, Gaming, and the Arts Committee advanced legislation to enforce internal controls of the New Jersey Racing Commission, including the prompt reporting of revenues.
A-327 would require an audit at the end of each fiscal year to ensure the proper reporting of financial and other regulated information.
Proponents of the legislation point to a state auditor’s report that found the commission did not correctly process $7.5 million in transactions between 2017 and 2019. Additionally, the commission did not collect horsemen fines totaling $272,000, did not maintain an up-to-date database of employees’ fingerprints, and failed to report equine fatalities, lawmakers say, pointing to the report.
“This audit brought to light the need for reform within the racing commission,” Assemblyman Ron Dancer, R-Ocean, said in a statement. “Since its internal monitoring procedures failed, it’s time to bring in legislative oversight to ensure reporting integrity.”
The bill requires that all fines be collected, and those who refuse to pay fines are suspended. Additionally, horse fatalities and revenues must be quickly reported, while employee access to sensitive information is limited to job duties and classification.
“Significantly, $100 million in taxpayer money is being sent by law to the Racing Commission to supplement horse racing purses over a five-year period,” Dancer said. “Because this involves money not only from fans and patrons, but also taxpayers, it’s even more important that there are proper fiscal controls on these monies.”
The commission will pay for the annual audits, and it cannot pass on any costs to the horsemen. The audits will be sent to the state attorney general and state lawmakers by May 15.