Operators of the Monmouth Park Racetrack in New Jersey say they’re moving forward with a lawsuit that seeks financial damages from sports leagues that stood in its way of running a sportsbook for several years.

Monmouth Park sports betting lawsuit

Monmouth Park operator Dennis Drazin is going after sports betting revenues that never materialized due to New Jersey’s long legal battle with the NCAA and pro sports leagues. (Image: Bill Denver/Equi-Photo)

Filed in May by the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association (NJTHA), the lawsuit claims the NCAA NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL’s action to block Monmouth Park from operating a sportsbook as far back as 2014 cost the track at least $130 million. The filing was made in the US District Court of New Jersey.

“The leagues’ actions nearly put Monmouth Park out of business, inflicted significant financial and emotional hardship on hundreds of innocent Monmouth Park workers, and jeopardized the continued viability of New Jersey’s entire equine industry,” the litigation declares.

Attorneys for the leagues fired back in a response last month by calling the lawsuit “meritless, if not frivolous.” Regardless, this week in new court documents the NJTHA says it’s moving forward with the case.

Game On

In the court filing this week, NJTHA attorneys say the Supreme Court’s 6-3 decision in May declaring the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) unconstitutional means the leagues’ 2014 efforts to block Monmouth Park from taking sports bets shouldn’t have been permitted.

In 2014 after Monmouth Park partnered with William Hill to build a sportsbook at the racetrack and was readying to take its first bet, the NCAA et al filed a restraining order in New Jersey District Court.

Judge Michael Sipp granted the Temporary Restraining Order (TSO) for four weeks, but ordered the leagues to post a $3.4 million bond to cover lost costs if the case didn’t proceed. It did, of course, and endured for three-and-a-half years.

With the conclusion finally culminating with the Supreme Court decision, Monmouth says the leagues should hand over the $3.4 million, plus some $127 million more it lost during the legal fight.

Legal Drama Continues

NJTHA President Dennis Drazin says the financial loss that came from the NCAA et al blocking betting at Monmouth is likely much more than $130 million. “When you add up the numbers from lost earnings since 2014 it comes to $150 million to $200 million, and it may be more,” Drazin stated in May.

The NJTHA lawsuit wants an evidentiary hearing to determine total damages that might be owed by the leagues. The NCAA and Big Four say they were simply fighting for what the law demanded at the time, and their arguments “were repeatedly held to be well-founded.”

The NJTHA motion contends, “The leagues had a choice to either abandon their request for an injunction against the NJTHA or run the risk of paying damages if the injunction proved to be improvidently granted. In essence, the leagues and their surety made a $3.4 million bet and confirmed it in a contract that the injunction would be sustained.”

“The Leagues made a losing bet. It’s time to pay up,” the suit concludes.