Monmouth Park Appeals Sports Betting Lawsuit, Seeks Financial Damages From NCAA, Big Four Pro Leagues

Posted on: November 26, 2018, 10:40h. 

Last updated on: November 26, 2018, 10:40h.

Attorneys for the Monmouth Park horse racetrack say they aren’t giving up their legal fight to recoup claimed financial losses incurred after the NCAA, NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL successfully blocked the New Jersey venue from operating a sportsbook back in 2014.

Monmouth Park sports betting lawsuit
Monmouth Park CEO Dennis Drazin isn’t conceding his fight against the NCAA and four major US pro sports leagues. (Image: Dave Kotinsky/Getty)

A federal judge rejected the lawsuit earlier this month, which was filed by the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association (NJTHA) on Monmouth’s behalf.

The court ruling concluded that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) superseded New Jersey’s wishes to legalize sports betting. The federal mandate, passed in 1992, was struck down in May of this year by the US Supreme Court.

Monmouth Park CEO Dennis Drazin asserts that the nearly four-year delay in allowing the track to operate a sportsbook resulted in $140 million in damages. NJTHA attorneys are also seeking a $3.4 million bond, plus interest, that the NCAA and four pro leagues posted after a judge placed a temporary blockage on allowing sports wagering from commencing in the Garden State.

US District Judge Michael Shipp ruled last week, “In 2014, PASPA was constitutionally valid. Thus, the law as it existed in 2014 clearly favored the leagues… The Court accordingly finds good cause exists to deny NJTHA damages.”

Fight Continues

Drazin wasted little time in explaining his quest to make the leagues pay for blocking the track from taking sports bets won’t end with Shipp’s ruling.

We believe the leagues acted in bad faith trying to stop New Jersey from taking advantage of sports betting while at the same time they were pursuing fantasy sports,” Drazin detailed in May. After Shipp handed down his decision, Drazin said an appeal was “in the works.”

An appeal was indeed filed, and the case is now going to the Third US Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia. It’s the same court that ruled against New Jersey during its PASPA challenge.

In August 2016, in a rare “en banc” hearing, the Third Circuit’s bench ruled 9-3 in the NCAA et al.’s favor. The US Supreme Court was New Jersey’s last hope, and though the highest court in the country accepts less than five percent of the cases it’s petitioned, the PASPA challenge was granted.

The Supreme Court determined in a 6-3 decision that PASPA violated anti-commandeering interpretations of the Tenth Amendment. Writing the majority opinion, Justice Samuel Alito explained, “Our job is to interpret the law Congress has enacted and decide whether it is consistent with the Constitution. PASPA is not. The judgement of the Third Circuit is reversed.”

Sports Betting Revenues

New Jersey has seven casino sportsbooks in operation, plus two at horse racetracks. There are also seven online sports wagering platforms, and it’s the internet and mobile books taking the majority of bets.

The nine physical sportsbooks printed $86.34 million in ticket slips last month. Online, bettors wagered $174.37 million. Since the first bet was made in June, sports betting has generated a win of more than $34 million for casinos and racetracks.