After Delay, Freehold Raceway Starts Test Run Of Retail Sportsbook

Written By Bill Gelman on August 31, 2020 - Last Updated on October 26, 2020

Play NJ has learned the retail sportsbook at Freehold Raceway is now taking bets.

The soft opening took place on Sept. 24. Operating hours are currently noon-8 p.m. daily. More details, included expanded hours, are expected to be announced soon.

The NJ sports betting location was originally slated to open Sept. 9, prior to NFL Week One.

The Garden State now has 11 retail sportsbooks.

Freehold experiences delay of NJ sports betting game

Freehold customers were expecting the sports wagering space to be open earlier this month.

Parx Casino sent out an email to customers on Sept. 1 announcing that the sportsbook at the New Jersey racetrack would be opening Sept. 9. The brief announcement did not include much in the way of details.

The email noted that the new retail sportsbook would open the week after the Kentucky Derby, too.

“Come place all your race bets for Kentucky Derby and all racing action. Then, starting 9/9, you can also place your bets on pro and college football, basketball and hockey playoffs, baseball and so much more!”

However, there is nothing about operating hours, betting windows or even the location of the sportsbook within Freehold Raceway. For now, the Freehold website is also devoid of information.

Freehold sportsbook finally gets its day

Freehold, which is located in Monmouth County, is a joint venture between Greenwood Racing and Penn National Gaming. Greenwood is the parent company of Parx Casino in Bensalem, PA.

With NFL betting in its sights, Freehold Raceway’s new Parx Sportsbook comes at an opportune time. But in truth, Freehold sportsbook plans have always been under wraps.

Opening a retail operation across state lines provides Parx an entry point to launch its mobile sports betting app, powered by Kambi. There is no word if the Parx online sportsbook will be live by Sept. 9.

It would make sense, however, for Parx to take that step.

The Parx online casino app operates under the Ocean Casino Resort license. Unlike sports betting platforms, companies need to partner with an Atlantic City casino to get a piece of NJ online gambling action. The casino app has been up and running since 2019, but a shared wallet with a sportsbook is a common sight in New Jersey.

The NJ sportsbook count currently stands at 18 apps.

Could Barstool Sportsbook be next?

Each land-based operator in the state is permitted to have up to three skins. This includes Freehold Raceway.

One slot already belongs to Parx. The highly anticipated Barstool Sportsbook app also makes sense here.

Penn National owns a 36% stake in Barstool Sports, a media outlet and pop culture blog based in New York City. And the Barstool Sportsbook app, which is under development, is expected to launch in Pennsylvania first. Neighboring NJ would be the next logical step.

Exactly when this will take place is the wild card. There has been no confirmation that the Barstool app will make a move into NJ. The other unknown is which operator will claim Freehold’s third skin.

But after two years of wondering when Freehold is actually joining the sports betting market, this is welcome news for its customers.

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Bill Gelman

Bill Gelman is a veteran sports writer based just outside of Philadelphia and not too far from the Jersey Shore. Bill spends time in Atlantic City writing about casino openings and expansions, special events and now NJ sports betting and online gambling.

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