Monmouth Sports Betting Hits Statutory Snag

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Dennis Drazin | Patty Wolfe

Upon closer reading of the New Jersey bill introduced on Monday to legalize sports wagering in the state, Monmouth Park has put on hold plans to start taking sports bets on Memorial Day weekend.

As first reported by NJ.com, Senate Bill 2602 contains a provision that reads, “No license to operate a sports pool shall be issued by the racing commission to any entity…that operated a sports pool within one year prior to the enactment of this act.”

According to NJ.com, Dennis Drazin, the chairman and chief executive of Darby Development LLC, which operates Monmouth Park, said it was initially his belief that a previous state law permitting New Jersey casinos and racetracks to offer sports betting without state regulation would allow Monmouth Park to begin accepting bets immediately.

But, in effect, if Monmouth Park opens for sports betting under the terms of the existing law and Bill 2602 then gets voted in, that clause in the new bill would automatically disqualify the track from licensure.

“We’re moving quickly with legislation. I’m hopeful we should be ready by early June,” Senate President Stephen Sweeney, who introduced the bill, told NJ.com. “Everyone should respect the legislative process rather than jumping out. We fought for this for seven years. I’m anxious to get started just like everyone else.”

Drazin–who has said all along since the Supreme Court decision was announced on Monday that he would cooperate with lawmakers’ wishes before launching–told NJ.com, “I spoke to Senator Sweeney and he asked me to wait. We won’t take bets from the general public until the legislature says we can. Our current plan is to do [only] ceremonial betting May 28.”

 

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