OCEANPORT: Monmouth County Freeholder Thomas Arnone believes the state is missing a big opportunity in not allowing casino-style gambling at Monmouth Park.
A Nov. 8 referendum question will ask residents if they would like to see casinos expand outside of Atlantic City, however Monmouth Park willnotbeoneof the sites considered for a casino. The revenue that would be created from the new Jersey City and Meadowlands facilities would be shared with the Oceanport race track, bu Oceanport Councilman Joe Irace recently said that percentage was originally slated to be higher for Monmouth Park.
With this latest bit of news, Arnone said in his monthly report that the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders "needs to take a bigger role in assisting with the future growth of Monmouth Racetrack."
"A few weeks ago I attended a private event at the racetrack and attendance was very low and I think it is a direct of the result of how the state has impacted betting and gambling," Arnone said. "I have never seen the racetrack so empty on a Sunday in the summer, it was deserted, but as a business you still must open the doors and there is a cost to that. I think that the county has to step in and help, as this is unsustainable for the racetrack in the long run."
Arnone said he has asked the board to support sending a letter to the state requesting that they intervene to "ensure the future of Monmouth Park, one of our biggest tourist attractions."
"We plan to ask them to support legalized sports betting and casino gaming at our racetrack in Oceanport," he said.
If sports wagering were allowed in the state, Monmouth Park would be one of the first places where residents could place a bet. In 2012, Monmouth Park, in anticipation of offering sports wagering, partnered with William Hill, a world leader in gaming, to create a state-of-the-art sportsbook at the racetrack.
Arnone said that the referendum stipulates that there can not be casino gambling less than 72 miles from Atlantic City, therefore eliminating Monmouth Park from contention. He said this should be changed as the Oceanport race track already has the infrastructure in place to allow additional gambling options.
"We believe the park has the infrastructure, space to expand and, in addition, is already a train stop on NJ Transit allowing mass transit to bring additional people into the region - it's a win-win as far as I am concerned," he said.