The Meadowlands Racetrack plans to offer legal sports betting next month, right across the Hudson River from New York.
Jeff Gural, who manages the northern New Jersey track, tells The Associated Press that he plans to begin offering sports betting on July 15.
The news is especially significant because legislators in Albany finished their annual session last Wednesday. One of the many important issues that were left unresolved included the passage of a sports betting bill that would have expanded sports gambling throughout the state.
“New York did me such a favor by not passing sports betting,” Gural said. “That leaves me the entirety of New York City, Long Island, Westchester County. There are 15 million people that live within 20 miles of the Meadowlands. They gave me a tremendous gift,” Gural added.
Gural also owns the Tioga Downs track in upstate New York. Passage of sports betting legislation in New York State would have helped inject some life into the struggling property.
New Jersey gambling regulators called Gural’s timetable doable. So far, Monmouth Park racetrack in shoretown Oceanport, and Atlantic City’s Borgata casino are the only ones in New Jersey offering sports betting.
The Ocean Resort Casino, a new resort filling the skeleton left behind by the fabled and financially catastrophic Revel, will become the third on June 28 when it reopens on the Atlantic City Boardwalk. The Meadowlands would be next in line just over two weeks later, Voz Iz Neias News reports.
The US Supreme Court set the stage when it struck down a 1992 federal law that banned sports betting in most states last May.
New Jersey wasted little time allowing its gambling facilities to accept sports wagers, with Monmouth Park racetrack in Oceanport and the Borgata casino in Atlantic City opening on Thursday to excited customers and profits.
In 1992, Congress passed the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, which effectively banned sports betting nationwide. Provisions allowed some states to be grandfathered in, which is why Las Vegas has been able to offer sports betting. New Jersey failed to take advantage of the opportunity, and the window eventually closed.
Sports betting is expected to bring in $13 million in revenue for the state in its first full year. Gambling will be allowed on all professional and collegiate sports except for collegiate games involving New Jersey institutions and/or collegiate events happening in the state.
Gural said sports betting will help but is just one small part of a potential solution to save the horse racing industry in New Jersey, which continues to struggle competing against neighboring states that subsidize their tracks. New Jersey’s tracks once received $30 million a year from the state’s casinos, but former Gov. Chris Christie (R) ended those payments in 2011.
Without some sort of subsidy, Gural said, to VIN News, the track could be forced to just offer sports betting and simulcasting.
The track eventually plans to offer online sports betting but will only offer sports betting at the track during the beginning of the new sports betting era in America.