06/22/2004 12:00AM

Jersey track-lease bill passes

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The New Jersey Legislature passed a bill Monday that would allow the state to lease The Meadowlands and Monmouth Park to a private operator.

By making changes is some minor racing laws, the bill, which has been sent to Gov. James McGreevey, clears the way for a lease of the two properties, which are owned by the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority. McGreevey has said that he supports an effort to lease the tracks to a private operator. Last year, Monmouth and The Meadowlands earned $23.5 million for New Jersey.

New Jersey racetracks are in the process of hammering out final plans for offtrack betting facilities and account wagering in the state. The establishment of either would have a significant impact on the value of the tracks to a leaseholder.