Monmouth Park Investigating Fantasy Sports Betting

By Briana Vannozzi

Just when they thought all systems were go, another hurdle for sports betting at Monmouth Park Racetrack. This time from a U.S. district court judge.

But the state and park have plans to keep action moving.

“Given the fact that Judge [Michael] Shipp did not issue an injunction against Monmouth Park, we certainly think we’re free to do anything that the leagues participate in. Anything that the current larger companies like Draft Kings and Fan Duel might be participating in,” said Monmouth Park Racetrack Legal Advisor Dennis Drazin.

“How do we turn our love of fantasy sports into reality cash? They have one-day games so you’re not locked in. It’s like a new season every time you play,” says a Draft Kings commercial.

He’s talking about fantasy league sports betting.

“This enhances the revenues for all the leagues. It gives someone a reason to watch. If a game is a runaway, unless it’s your favorite team, why are you gonna watch it unless you have live action?” Drazin asked.

Drazin says Monmouth Park would like to bring fantasy betting around in time for college playoffs in December.

When asked what patrons should expect to see there, he said, “Well, we’re trying to develop that now. You might be looking at kiosks there, you might be looking at servers that would enable people to make bets but the actual dynamics of what’s permissible and what is not permissible is being studied by our legal team.”

While a conservative estimate of New Jersey’s take of fantasy betting is still being studied, Drazin thinks revenue for legalized sports betting would come in somewhere around $10 billion a year.

“This would be something that would save the casinos and racetracks, bring people back to New Jersey from all over the country because if we have sports betting here, it means that it’s a destination,” Drazin said.

This week a judge kept in place a federal sports betting ban and sided with major sports leagues like the NFL and MLB. New Jersey immediately filed an appeal.

“We’ll be going to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. The process hopefully would be expedited to some extent, but I anticipate we’re talking about a three- to six-month period at the least,” Drazin said.

Drazin and his counterparts in the state, including Sen. Ray Lesniak, a prime sponsor of the sports betting legislation, believe firmly they’ll be successful in the court of appeals.

Next week, Sen. Lesniak will launch a petition drive to collect 100,000 signatures in New Jersey and 1 million nationwide. He plans to present it to Congress to ask for their help in repealing the federal ban on sports betting, as a supplement to the court challenge.