OCEANPORT: Today, Dec. 4, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on why sports betting should be legalized in the state of New Jersey; the outcome of those arguments will be key to the survival of Monmouth Park, according to its operators.
"What the outcome of today's case means is the survival of Monmouth Park," Darby Development CEO Dennis Drazin said today. "Horse racing accounts for more than 200,000 green acres and open spaces in the Garden State and is responsible for 13,000 jobs with a $2 billion economic impact. This case helps ensure those numbers for generations to come."
The case centers around a 1992 federal law entitled the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), which prohibits sports betting nationally with certain exceptions. The state is arguing that PAPSA is unconstitutional.
In 2011, New Jersey residents supported a statewide referendum to amend the state constitution to authorize legislation allowing sports gambling. The state legislature subsequently enacted a bill that would allow sports betting at casinos in Atlantic City and at New Jersey racetracks.
Legislation passed by Gov. Chris Christie on Oct. 17, 2014, repealed PASPA and specifies that certain collegiate sports contests and athletic events shall not be the subject of wagering, as the New Jersey Constitution mandates, and it limits the repeal to wagers placed by persons at least 21 years of age. The bill also repeals the prior Sports Wagering Act in its entirety.
Sports wagering was set to begin on Sunday, Oct. 26, 2014 but U.S. District Judge Michael Shipp issued a temporary restraining order on Oct. 24 after a request by the NFL, the NBA, the NHL, Major League Baseball and the NCAA.
The case eventually made its way to the Supreme Court.
"It was a momentous occasion to see our fight for sports betting reach the highest Court in the land, especially knowing that our six year battle will reach a final conclusion in the next several months," Drazin said. "I am thankful for the leadership of our governor and the New Jersey legislature, the unwavering commitment of the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association and to many others who have been instrumental in getting us to today."
It will take months for the court to announce its decision, but Drazin said he is optimistic about the outcome.
"Everyone's hard work and dedication were on full display for the Court, who I am cautiously optimistic will see things in our favor and the will of the people of New Jersey, who overwhelmingly voted in favor of sports betting, will soon come to fruition," he said.
Monmouth Park spent $1 million to build the William Hill Sports Bar, which was designed with the idea of converting it into a sports wagering facility. Monmouth Park officials estimate legalized sports wagering could raise $1 million per week in revenue.