05/07/2013 2:38PM

Monmouth Park: William Hill to sponsor Haskell Invitational Stakes


William Hill, the British bookmaking company, has reached an agreement with Monmouth Park in New Jersey to sponsor the track’s Haskell Invitational Stakes and manage a sports-betting operation at the track if legal barriers to sports betting are lifted, Monmouth announced Tuesday.

A release from Monmouth said that the agreement is “long term” but it did not provide details. The $1 million Haskell, a mid-summer target for many top 3-year-olds, is scheduled this year for July 28, and it will be renamed the William Hill Haskell Invitational.

Last year, voters in New Jersey authorized sports betting in the state at casinos and racetracks through a public referendum, but the law was immediately challenged by a handful of professional sports leagues and the NCAA. Earlier this year, a federal judge ruled in favor of the leagues, citing a 1992 federal law that prohibited sports betting in all but a few states that had offered the practice prior to the law being passed. New Jersey has appealed the decision.

Under the agreement, William Hill will build and operate a sports-betting operation at the track if the challenge is successful, the release said.

“One day sports betting will be legal in New Jersey,” said Joe Asher, the chief executive of William Hill USA, a subsidiary of the company that manages its U.S. operations, including 180 locations in Nevada. “When it is, William Hill will be there.”