Monmouth Park Doesn’t Hold Back, Seeks Restitution From Sports Leagues

Written By Bart Shirley on May 18, 2018

In the wake of the US Supreme Court’s unequivocal toss of PASPA, New Jersey racetrack Monmouth Park has announced plans to file an application for damages in court. Track officials claim that hundreds of millions of dollars have been lost thanks to a temporary restraining order issued at the behest of the major sports leagues.

Here is what Dennis Drazin of Monmouth Park had to say on Tuesday:

“We believe the leagues acted in bad faith trying to stop New Jersey from taking advantage of sports betting while at the same time they were pursuing fantasy sports through their equity positions with the FanDuels and Draft Kings of the world, playing games in jurisdictions that permit gambling on sports, all while telling the courts it was an integrity issue.”

The stop order came in October 2014 from US District Court Judge Michael Shipp. The leagues successfully argued for the order to keep Monmouth Park from accepting bets on NFL games.

‘Hundreds of millions’ seems farfetched, but is it?

The racetrack’s claim of a nine-figure loss may seem excessive for a smallish racetrack in north New Jersey. However, there is at least some basis for the amount.

At the time of the restraining order, Shipp also ordered the leagues to post a $3.4 million bond to compensate Monmouth Park for its lost revenue until a hearing could proceed. That hearing occurred on Nov. 20 of the same year, meaning that the bond was to cover roughly four weeks of operations.

This bond amount yields a revenue estimate of roughly $850,000 per week. From the day of the order’s issuance until PASPA’s demise was just over 185 weeks.

A quick multiplication of those two numbers produces a shocking $157,250,000. So, Monmouth Park’s claim may not be completely off-base.

With that said, claims about lost revenue can be rather dubious. There’s no guarantee that the bond figure was accurate or that track revenues on NJ sports betting would have been that high, especially on a consistent basis.

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Monmouth Park is moving quickly

Monmouth Park’s speedy move to recoup its lost revenues is not surprising. As we reported in March, the venerable track has been struggling in recent years.

In fact, track officials all but admitted that the fate of the track rested on the Supreme Court’s decision. The track website continues to maintain a running compilation of relevant news articles surrounding the case.

Also, the track has had a functional sports betting venue since 2013. Officials partnered with European gambling giant William Hill to convert the cafeteria into the William Hill Race & Sports Bar.

William Hill paid for the conversion in exchange for splitting the profits from future wagers. The conglomerate is likely antsy to recoup its $5 million investment as soon as possible though perhaps more realistic than Monmouth.

The track is racing (no pun intended) to bring sports betting to New Jersey by Memorial Day (May 28) though better estimates put the launch of NJ sports betting on June 7. Since live events are ailing, an open sportsbook would be vital medicine for the park.

Of course, it remains to be seen whether a lawsuit of this kind will have any results.

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Bart Shirley

Bart Shirley is a writer and poker player from Houston, Texas. When he's not teaching high school math and business, Bart writes about the NJ online casino industry and US online poker. He has a master's degree in business administration from Texas Christian University and a degree in English from Texas A&M.

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