09/10/2014 12:28PM

Monmouth backs off on sports betting

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Two days after New Jersey’s governor said the state’s racetracks and casinos could offer sports betting effective immediately, the head of Monmouth Park in Oceanport, N.J., said the track would not offer betting on sports until at least late October, citing expected legal challenges.

Dennis Drazin, the head of the horsemen’s group that is leasing the track from the state, said Wednesday the track did not expect to offer sports bets for at least 45 days. Drazin said earlier in the week that the track could offer sports bets as early as this Sunday, but he backed away from that timetable because of expectations that sports leagues will challenge an unusual directive issued by Gov. Chris Christie on Monday that claimed to authorize the practice.

Although a district court and appeals court have both said that New Jersey cannot offer sports betting without violating federal law, Christie’s directive said that casinos and racetracks could offer the bets without “criminal or legal liability” from the state. The directive is expected to be challenged by most major professional sports leagues and the NCAA, the organizations that had earlier won the district-court and appeals-court rulings.

Monmouth has been a vocal supporter of the plan to authorize sport betting and has partnered with a British-based bookmaking company, William Hill, to run its sports-wagering operation if it is ever launched.