Monmouth Park Spokesman Says the Racetrack Is Breaking Even and Here to Stay
Three years after new ownership took control of Monmouth Park in North Jersey, the racetrack looks as if it will break even or even make a slight profit. That is good news to the business and political leaders of New Jersey, which have seen the gaming industry of the state in rapid decline in recent years.
Dennis Drazin, a spokesman and lawyer for the new Monmouth Park, spoke at a press conference on Tuesday while announcing the track’s new season. Drazin said that the new ownership has reversed recent losing trends. Monmouth Park’s turnaround is due to an increase in attendance and a larger betting handle over the past two years. With the increases, Monmouth Park is now self-sufficient.
Drazin Optimistic for NJ Turnaround
Mr. Drazin also spoke about the wider gaming industry of New Jersey, saying he was optimistic about its chances for a turnaround. Though he offers special qualifying remarks, he believes the gaming industry as a whole will become more self-sufficient in the years to come. Drazin said, if either sports betting is legalized in the state or a North Jersey casino is built, then the New Jersey gambling industry should be in good shape. If both events happened, then the good times might be around the corner again.
Drazin, who serves as advisor to the Darby Development LLC, which operates the track, and the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, which leases the track (from New Jersey), said that Monmouth Park is strong and durable. He said, “We are here to stay. There is no one who is going to close us down. There is no one that is going to put us out of business. Racing will always be here.”
Lesniak for North Jersey Casino
State Sen. Raymond Lesniak has been a consistent supporter of the gambling industry of New Jersey. He is one of the outspoken voices on the legalized sportsbook issue.
2015 Monmouth Park Season
The Monmouth Park season begins with the $1 million William Hill Haskell Invitational, which begins on Saturday, May 9. The season extends through September 27.
This weekend’s Invitational Meet is one indication of the strong partnership between Monmouth Park and the well-established UK sportsbook, William Hill. William Hill has a bar and restaurant on the grounds of the Monmouth Park racetrack. The two companies were set to partner on sports betting, with William Hill training up to 110 employees to handle sports betting on the Monmouth Park complex, when the American pro sports leagues sued to have sports betting banned.
Lesniak: State Needs Immediate Plan
Ray Lesniak says the state’s lawmakers need a vote on the North Jersey casino sometime this year. He says that delay only serves the interests of rival gaming ventures in nearby states. He added, “It has to happen soon and I expect it to happen soon. It’s almost a forced move. We have to move ahead or we are going to continue to fall behind.”
If a referendum was added to the ballot in November, it would likely be another two years before casinos would open in North Jersey, with one likely in Jersey City and another in the Meadowlands. A casino license bidding process would have to be set in motion. After the licensing was complete, a lengthy construction process would take place. When completed, New Jersey would have the casinos closest to New York City, which would help keep Northern New Jerseyan gamblers in the state, while drawing out residents and tourists from the New York City metropolitan area.
Says Atlantic City Is “Withering on the Vine”
Though Chris Christie has said he would veto any bill that reached his desk before February 2016, when his 5-year moratorium on casino expansion ends, Lesniak says such delays are going to cost the state vast sums of money. Lesniak said, “I hope they understand we are losing hundreds of millions of dollars to other states by not having casinos in north Jersey and that some of those revenues can be reinvested in Atlantic City and our racetracks to keep both of those industries from withering on the vine because that’s what is happening now.”
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