Bettors clamoring to place their wagers at the Meadowlands Racetrack in New Jersey won’t have to wait as long as they thought.
Track officials have announced that the facility will start accepting its first sports bets on July 14. That’s one day ahead of the planned July 15 date which racetrack operator Jeff Gural announced less than two weeks ago.
And that’s no coincidence, according to racetrack manager, Jason Settlemoir.
“The timing is much better and in correlation with one of our biggest race days, the Meadowlands Pace,” Settlemoir told North Jersey.
In addition to the big race, the earlier date will also allow bettors to get a piece of the action on the World Cup Final the following day.
The first legal sports bets in the history of the track are expected to be placed at 9:30 am on the 14th at the Victory Sports Bar and Club by a group of dignitaries.
With the official ceremony out of the way, the general public will be able to place their bets – on both college and professional games – starting at 11 am.
Can Sports Betting Save a Sinking Ship?
The hope for track management is that sports betting can provide a much-needed boost to its bottom line.
Gural is on the record as saying that harness racing at his track, which has been open since 1976, is a “dying business“. Now, hopes have buoyed by his establishment’s ability to offer sports betting, and perhaps even more significantly, the fact that his neighbors aren’t yet doing so.
“New York did me such a favor by not passing sports betting,” Gural told the Associated Press. “That leaves me the entirety of New York City, Long Island, Westchester County. There are 15 million people that live within 20 miles (32 kilometers) of the Meadowlands. They gave me a tremendous gift.”
The gift Gural really wants is a casino at his Meadowlands Racetrack; however, that proposal was soundly defeated by New Jersey voters in a referendum. The state will allow for the possibility of a new vote on the matter as soon as November of this year, but Gural has yet to indicate if its something he plans on pursuing.
For now, his new sports betting windows will have to act as a consolation prize.
Fourth to Fall in Line
When those windows open in July 4, the Meadowlands will become the fourth operation to offer legal sports betting in New Jersey.
Monmouth Park was the first to get up and running in early June, following PASPA’s defeat at the hands of the US Supreme Court in mid-May.
The Ocean Resort Casino and the Borgata in Atlantic City followed in the ensuing weeks, and the addition of the Meadowlands will make it a sports betting foursome in the Garden State.
In-house odds at the Meadowlands will be offered via Betfair, the track’s sports betting partner.