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Oceanport Continues Support of Sports Betting at Monmouth Park

OCEANPORT: The borough council is hoping that the possibility of bringing sports betting to Monmouth Park is still alive.

Gov. Chris Christie issued an absolute veto on a sports wagering bill in early August, just one day after Oceanport urged him to pass it.

Now the council has passed a second resolution supporting the override of the governor's veto.

"Senator (Ray) Lesniak has promised to bring up for vote on Sept. 22 an override vote," Councilman Joseph Irace said. "The governor has never been overridden, but this bill passed overwhelmingly in the Senate and the Assembly and according to Senator Lesniak most of the people who supported the first time will be supporting it this time."

A two-third vote is needed to override a veto.

The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) of 1992 has banned sports wagering in New Jersey and all states that failed to opt out of that federal legislation. Currently, only four states are permitted to take sports wagers - Delaware, Montana, Nevada and Oregon.

The legislation that was originally proposed by Lesniak would have allowed New Jersey to proceed with sports betting by repealing the prohibition currently enacted as law.

Irace said Monmouth Park is ready for sports betting to begin and that it constructed a sports wagering bar and entered into an agreement with William Hill to handle its operation.

"I think its important to the sustainability of Monmouth Park for sports wagering to take place," Irace said.

Senator Jennifer Beck is also meeting with the attorney general's office on Sept 10 to see if there is language in the bill that could be changed so the bill could be passed.

Irace said he hopes that either the bill can be overridden or an agreement can be reached to change the language.

"If it's overridden, we can have sports betting, according to Dennis Drazin (advisor to the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association which operates Monmouth Park), within two weeks to a month after it's approved," Irace said.

A portion of any money generated from sports wagering would go to Monmouth Park for infrastructure and upkeep of the racetrack facilities.

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