Perhaps no potential sportsbook in the US is champing at the bit harder than Monmouth Park.
The latest on NJ sports betting
The northern New Jersey racetrack and the home of The Haskell is almost bubbling with anticipation of a new avenue for wagers.
States and gaming facilities across the US are awaiting a decision from the Supreme Court. A favorable ruling from the court regarding the constitutionality of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, or PASPA, could open the floodgates for sports betting around the country. A decision could come as soon as Tuesday.
Monmouth Park may be able to offer NJ sports betting not long after the court issues its decision. Officials there have said wagering could be up and running within a few weeks of a ruling. The track has already partnered with European and Nevada sports betting giant William Hill to open the William Hill Race & Sports Bar.
The Monmouth sportsbook in waiting
The sports bar has been open since 2013. It grew out of the track’s cafeteria.
Now, it serves mostly as a casual venue for watching sporting events and laid-back parties. Almost as an afterthought, the phrase “The Home of Betting” adorns its walls, though precious little betting happens in the room at all.
- Live music
- A cornhole tournament (which spilled out into the midway)
- Free poker tournaments
- March Madness viewings
- A Super Bowl party
- A brand-new menu in the bar.
Monmouth’s future may be riding on the decision
All this preparation serves as a backstop to how important track management feels the Supreme Court decision may be. Notably, Monmouth’s website is keeping a running compilation of the case’s news and information.
It’s no secret that horse racing isn’t exactly the healthiest industry, and that the introduction of sports betting would help the bottom line.
Though last year’s betting handle at Monmouth was up almost eight percent, the increase came after a dreadful 26 percent drop in 2016. The total amount wagered went up, despite the park’s decision to run seven fewer races in 2017 than the previous year. Attendance was up last year, as well.
Unfortunately, the track can only cut so many races to remain competitive with other regional tracks.
So, Monmouth Park may be all-in on sports betting because it has no choice. We do know that sports betting legalization would certainly drive visitors there. Fans of the venerable race venue should cross their fingers and hope for the best.