Monmouth ‘Takes An L’ In NJ Sports Betting Lawsuit Against Leagues, But Plans To Appeal

After months of unabated success and expansion, an NJ sports betting advocate has finally hit a roadblock.

On Nov. 16, US District Court Judge Michael Shipp ruled against Monmouth Park and the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, in its suit against the major sports leagues.

The lawsuit stemmed from a 2014 injunction issued by the very same judge. The racetrack says it will appeal the judge’s ruling.

How the latest lawsuit came to be

New Jersey technically legalized sports betting in 2012.

Then-Gov. Chris Chris Christie authorized a bill that would allow sports betting at New Jersey’s casinos and racetracks.

Two years later, Monmouth Park was ready to open a sportsbook with partner William Hill.

However, the sports leagues sued for injunctive relief under PASPA, and Shipp issued a restraining order for the racetrack until the suit’s resolution.

That resolution only came with PASPA’s dismissal in May 2018. Monmouth Park made the argument that it had lost revenue during that period unnecessarily, and demanded that the leagues compensate it for the loss.

How much was Monmouth Park seeking?

The amount in question was no mere pittance either.

Extrapolating from the bond figure that the judge required from the leagues in the initial hearing period for the suit, the track figured its losses to be about $850,000 per week.

Applying that estimate to the number of weeks between the restraining order and PASPA’s dismissal causes the resulting damages to exceed $150 million.

So, understandably, the leagues chose to contest the suit. What followed was a war of words between the two sides during the initial few weeks.

But last week, the judge agreed with the leagues.

In his ruling, obtained by ESPN, the court ruled:

“The Court … finds NJTHA was not wrongfully enjoined. The Court, accordingly, finds good cause exists to deny NJTHA damages under the injunction bond.”

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How NJ sports betting looks at Monmouth now

Since Monmouth opened its sportsbook in June, its land-based and online sports betting revenues have combined to earn about $7.46 million. While not the highest in the market, it is no small bit of change.

The online wagering revenue comes from Monmouth’s partnership with William Hill NJ. That online sportsbook opened in September.

So the state’s revenue numbers from the first four months of NJ sports betting tell a different story about the track’s revenues.

On a weekly basis, Monmouth is earning just under $373,000 per week on sports betting. Unfortunately, that figure is less than half Monmouth’s alleged weekly losses.

It remains to be seen what will happen as Monmouth appeal’s the court’s decision.

About the Author

Bart Shirley

Bart Shirley is a writer who covers the NJ online gambling industry as well as a poker player from Houston, Texas. He has a master's degree in business administration from Texas Christian University and a degree in English from Texas A&M. In his spare time, Bart teaches math and business at Memorial High School in Houston.