05/25/2012 10:42AM

Monmouth: New Jersey pressing ahead with regulations to allow sports betting at track


New Jersey will release regulations governing sports betting at the state’s casinos and racetracks next week, Gov. Chris Christie said on Thursday, which if enacted would allow for Monmouth Park to offer betting on professional and college sports.

The state will press ahead with the effort despite a federal ban on sports betting outside of Nevada, Delaware, Oregon, and Montana, Christie said on Thursday. The New Jersey legislature authorized sports betting last year, limiting the practice to casinos in Atlantic City and the state’s four racetracks, including Monmouth and the Meadowlands.

The federal law banning sports betting allowed New Jersey to pass legislation approving the practice by a 1991 deadline, but the state failed to enact the law then. It is expected that the Justice Department will take a close look at New Jersey’s actions, if not attempt to stop it outright.

“If someone wants to stop us, then let them try to stop us,” Christie said during a press conference on Thursday. “We want to work with the casinos and horse racing industry to get it implemented.”

Dennis Drazin, the chairman and general counsel of a horsemen-owned company that leases Monmouth Park from the state, said that Monmouth would seek to offer sports betting as early as this fall.

“We’re behind the governor, and if they try to stop it, we’re certain that the governor and the attorney general will have a proper response,” Drazin said.

The regulations to be released next week will determine what bets can be offered and outline how splits from sports betting will be divided between operators and the state. Drazin said that he had not seen a draft of the regulations.

In 2009, Delaware Park in nearby Delaware began to offer sports betting after the state passed a bill authorizing the practice, but a federal court ruled that the track could offer only parlay betting because the federal ban had limited the state to sports bets that had been offered prior to the ban. The court said that a 1976 lottery game tied to the results of sports results qualified as a parlay, and since then, Delaware has offered parlay betting on football games only.