Monmouth Park officials ‘optimistic’ about sports betting case

Posted: Updated:
OCEANPORT -

Monmouth Park Racetrack officials say that they are optimistic that sports betting will soon be allowed in New Jersey.

The United States Supreme Court heard arguments Monday on whether or not the state should be allowed to legalize the practice.

Monmouth Park, in Oceanport, was the first New Jersey venue to start preparing for the possibility of sports betting by building a sports betting lounge four years ago when New Jersey voters opted to legalize it. 

But lawsuits by the NCAA and professional sports leagues halted legalized sports betting in New Jersey.

Oceanport Mayor Jay Coffey says that legalized sports betting would provide much-needed funds for Monmouth Park, the town of Oceanport and the state.

“I think that the sports organizations are being a little bit disingenuous quite frankly,” Coffey says. “The NFL is built on gambling…point spreads that appear in the newspaper aren’t there by accident.”

The lounge in Monmouth Park would be sports betting central, and officials say that they could be ready with kiosks and tellers within weeks - expanding into a full Vegas-style sports book.

“The day they’re ready, Monmouth Park will be the first one ready to go,” says Oceanport Councilman Joseph Irace.

Gov. Chris Christie is also in favor of legalizing sports betting and was down in Washington Monday for the Supreme Court hearing.

“I believe here that it's very clear that the federal government overstepped its bounds vis-a-vis state rights,” Christie said.

But opponents of legalizing sports betting say that it will turn players into poker chips.

“As a coach I’m against any sports betting,” says Oakhurst resident Sam Apicelli. “I’ll bet on horses but I won’t bet on sports…too much respect.”

Monmouth Park isn't the only one gearing up for sports betting. MGM Resorts International announced it is investing $7 million in a sports-betting casino at the Borgata in Atlantic City.

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