On Monday, Dennis Drazin, president and CEO of Darby Development LLC, the operator of Monmouth Park Racetrack said he expected to accept the first sports bet within two weeks.
On Tuesday, he narrowed the window by declaring May 28 as the day Monmouth Park will launch sports betting in New Jersey.
He provided one caveat in the Monday press conference:
“If the Legislature or the governor says ‘slow down,’ I’m gonna listen to them.”
Well, the legislature said, “slow down.”
NJ sports betting legislation update
NJ legislators want to move quickly to get sports betting regulations on the books. It is imperative because unregulated sports betting is the law of the land in New Jersey since the recent US Supreme Court decision.
Gov. Phil Murphy and Stephen Sweeney, the New Jersey Senate president, confirmed an aggressive timeline targeting June 7 for a vote on a bill.
The bill introduced by Sweeney includes a mandate that may alter Monmouth Park’s plans for a May 28 launch.
The bill (S2602) states:
“No license to operate a sports pool shall be issued … to any person that operated a sports pool within one year prior to the enactment of this act.”
The New Jersey Assembly and Senate have two separate bills in the works. They are working together to create identical measures, which will help speed up the process. Any bill must pass both houses before it moves to the governor’s desk. The Assembly is scheduled to vote again on May 24, ahead of the June 7 vote in the Senate.
“We’re moving quickly with legislation. I’m hopeful we should be ready by early June. Everyone should respect the legislative process rather than jumping out,” said Sweeney in an interview with NJ.com.
Monmouth Park reacts to legislative restrictions
The bill in its current state puts Monmouth Park’s plans for a Memorial Day sports betting party on hold.
It has been a whirlwind of news since legal sports betting became a reality on Monday. New Jersey casinos and racetracks are busy putting plans in place to accept sports wagers.
But no entity has moved faster to offer sports betting than Monmouth Park.
William Hill, the global sportsbook already operating in Nevada, is an investor in the sports bar at Monmouth Park. Plans are in place to expand capacity into the grandstand.
Monmouth Park and William Hill have been anticipating the Supreme Court decision for months. It’s not surprising they were ready to move fast.
It is safe to say there is no chance Monmouth Park would put its sports betting license in jeopardy.
“I spoke to Senator Sweeney, and he asked me to wait,” Drazin said. “We won’t take bets from the general public until the legislature says we can.”