After nearly seven years of legal wrangling, Monmouth Park Racetrack has won its right to sports betting after the Supreme Court announced yesterday that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) is unconstitutional. The racetrack will begin offering sports betting on May 28.
“This is the culmination of the hard-work and dedication of a large group of individuals, all of whom contributed to today’s victory and will undoubtedly contribute to our future success,” said Dennis Drazin, chairman and CEO of Darby Development LLC, operators of Monmouth Park. “We started this fight back in 2012 and are grateful that the Supreme Court has recognized that we’ve been right all along. We can now shift our focus on commencing sports betting, which will be off and running at Monmouth Park as soon as possible.
“I congratulate all the stakeholders in this endeavor and their steadfast resolve in overturning this now unconstitutional law. I want to particularly thank Ray Lesniak (former state senator), who has been on top of this issue since Day One and Governor Chris Christie for supporting this effort all along. And now that victory is in hand, I look forward to working with Governor Phil Murphy, who has been a strong supporter of today’s ruling, on implementing sports betting.
“My most heartfelt congratulations to the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association and all those who were willing to continue to stick their necks out in search of today’s ruling. Their hard work will soon be rewarded, as will the people of New Jersey, who have supported sports betting for more than half a decade.”
In hopeful anticipation of today’s decision, Monmouth Park is nearing the finishing touches on an expanded gaming area on the first floor of the Grandstand, adjacent to the already existing William Hill Race and Sports Bar.
In 2011, Garden State voters overwhelmingly approved sports betting and New Jersey subsequently passed the Sports Wagering Act, permitting licensing and regulation of sports gambling. The State was sued based on the now unconstitutional 1992 federal law, with on-going litigation since.
On June 27, 2017, the United States Supreme Court issued a writ of certiorari to hear the consolidated cases of Murphy, Gov. of NJ, et al. v. NCAA et al. and NJ Thoroughbred Horsemen v. NCAA et al. Oral argument was heard in Washington, D.C. on Dec. 5, with today’s ruling officially marking an end to PASPA.
“Dennis Drazin was the driving force behind the sports betting legislation and Monmouth Park’s decision to fight in court to bring sports betting to New Jersey,” said Ron Riccio, Esq. of McElroy, Deutsch, Mulvaney and Carpenter, who served as lead counsel for the horsemen’s association. “More than anyone else, Dennis had the vision and determination to invest the time, energy, and resources that led to today’s decision, which will ensure the security of the Garden State’s billion-dollar equine industry.”
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