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TOMS RIVER, NJ-State attorney general Stuart Rabner has given his approval for what would be the state’s third off-track wagering facility. That approval follows the earlier authorization of the project by the New Jersey Racing Commission and clears the way for work to start, perhaps as early as next month.

That approval has been obtained by Freehold Raceway Off-Track LLC, a joint venture of Greenwood Racing and Penn National Gaming Inc. The two companies co-own Freehold Raceway, a harness track in Freehold, NJ, among a number of other racing and gaming properties. Both the owners and the state racing commission, in its earlier approval, “met all of the requirements of the law,” Rabner wrote in his approval.

Slated to open by late spring, the facility would be the third of up to 15 wagering sites authorized by the state’s OTW regulations. As reported by GlobeSt.com, approvals were obtained earlier this year for OTW facilities in Woodbridge and Vineland.

The local facility would be fashioned out of a shuttered Grand Union supermarket on Route 37 here. What Freehold Raceway Off-Track has in mind for the building, which totals about 50,000 sf, is a 759-seat OTW property that would include a full-service restaurant, a bar and plasma TV screens to broadcast races from tracks all over the country. Company officials estimate that it will generate revenues of about $40 million per year and provide about 100 jobs.

The project does face one possible legal challenge. Officials of neighboring Berkeley Twp. say they might challenge AG Rabner’s approval in the state Superior Court. “The state is overlooking local concerns,” township attorney Patrick Sheehan says in a prepared statement.

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