Monmouth Park and the state of New Jersey have been making more headlines since the Supreme Court decision repealed the Professional Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA). And the momentum keeps building as the track begins its second month of legal sports betting following its June 14 start.
Monmouth Park will hit its stride when the “War on the Shore” headlines Haskell Day; perhaps the biggest and most significant racing day since the track began hosting the race in 1968. The $1 million Haskell Invitational may be the headliner July 29 and the tracks hope to draw more fans, but sports betting is the hay and oats that will feed the track and provide the much-needed alternative revenue stream it needs to survive.
Monmouth Park and sports betting
While the rich history of the race will always be a part of the track’s legacy, the 2018 edition of the Haskell takes on added significance with sports betting now legal at the seaside track with William Hill operating the sportsbook. In less than three weeks after opening for sports betting, Monmouth Park took in more than $8.1 million in total wagers and recorded nearly $2.3 million in revenue according to Asbury Park Press. Those numbers do not reflect future bets on things like winning the Super Bowl.
Monmouth Park had a winning percentage of 11.8 percent, higher than both the other sports betting locations in the state at Borgata and Ocean Resort Casino. That figure was significantly higher than the average winning percentage on sports betting in Las Vegas (5.6%), although reporting methods make a direct comparison a little more difficult. Land-based sports betting revenue is taxed at an 8.5 percent rate in New Jersey, but all the early numbers and reports indicate Monmouth Park is off to a speedy start around the first turn. We’re just starting to see how legalized sports betting can impact the future of horse racing.
The Haskell Invitational and a big day of betting at the track and sportsbook is sure to build more momentum as Monmouth moves towards the backstretch and makes its move towards the far turn and upcoming football season.
“We are extremely pleased with our numbers,” said Dennis Drazin, president and CEO of Darby Development LLC, which operates Monmouth Park. “We think they show there is a huge appetite for sports betting. To be generating these numbers early, and it’s not even football season yet, speaks enormously of the potential for when football season comes around. So we’re thrilled by the early numbers.”
While Triple Crown winner Justify won’t make an appearance at Monmouth Park for the Haskell due to a minor injury, the race is still going to have tremendous interest as sports betting fans make their way to the track to check out the sports book and make some race and sports bets.
It may not be long before those bettors are able to make cross bets on horse racing and sports contests. That’s because Drazin says the track is seeking approval from the state Racing Commission and Division of Gaming Enforcement to offer parlay wagers combining horse racing and sporting events.
Sports betting is in its maiden stage at Monmouth Park and New Jersey. But the track is leading the early race towards wagering rewards. As Haskell Day approaches, it’s easy to envision a future bet payoff for the track as it parlays its profits from sports betting and adds more racing days and bigger purses to the Monmouth Park stakes races.
The Haskell Invitational will be a big draw this year and the most significant day of racing on the Jersey Shore. It won’t be long before the track is parlaying its profits from sports betting. Don’t be surprised if the Monmouth Park stakes schedule is extended beyond Labor Day in upcoming years to run alongside college and pro football weekends.