Monmouth Park Racetrack accepted the lion’s share of New Jersey’s sports bets in June 2018.
To be fair, Ocean Resort only operated its sportsbook for two days. However, the small Oceanport racetrack reported revenues more than twice that of Borgata, who opened for business on the same day.
Racetracks as the NJ sports betting leaders?
It is unclear if the June numbers are an anomaly or the beginning of a pattern. The publicity from Gov. Phil Murphy’s inaugural bet at Monmouth Park likely threw a spotlight on the racetrack.
However, it is also possible that New Jersey racetracks will lead sports betting in the state. Monmouth Park has already made a splash, and the Meadowlands is likely to make an even bigger impact.
The FanDuel Sportsbook at Meadowlands Racetrack is set to open on July 14. Every indication shows that the sportsbook will be overrun with customers.
Meadowlands is a scant six miles from New York City. New York legislators failed to pass a sports betting bill in their most recent session, so Meadowlands will be the nearest sports betting location for Big Apple residents.
Owner Jeff Gural has done everything but start wearing an I Heart NY tuxedo to indicate how excited he is for New Yorkers to come to his sportsbook. Last month, he told the Associated Press:
“New York did me such a favor by not passing sports betting. There are 15 million people that live within 20 miles of the Meadowlands.”
So, even though there might be glitter and more opportunities to wager in Atlantic City, it is possible that the sports action will be further north. Frankly, it couldn’t come sooner for them.
Sports betting is a Hail Mary for racetracks
There were two major reasons why New Jersey racetracks were pushed to the brink. The first was a cessation of state funding under then-Gov. Chris Christie.
Without the backup, purses fell by more than 50 percent. It became increasingly difficult for track management to get the quality of horses needed to generate attention to the tracks.
The tracks also suffered from nearby competition. Horseracing in neighboring states meant that customers were less willing to drive into New Jersey to bet the ponies.
Also, racetracks do not have any sources to backstop them through rough times. Atlantic City casinos are finding that their bottom lines can remain healthy through a robust online gambling market, even if NJ land-based casino revenues are down.
Of course, there is still no word about impending sports betting at the third track, Freehold Raceway. It is unclear what the market would be if and when the track decides to enter the game.
Regardless, perhaps NJ sports betting is the answer to prayers in northern New Jersey. Lord knows there have been enough trials for the tracks.