Optimism after Supreme Court oral arguments in sports betting case

By: Tom LaMarra

Posted: Dec. 5, 2017

The top official at Monmouth Park said he is “cautiously optimistic” Dec. 4 oral arguments before the United States Supreme Court in regard to sports betting will result in a favorable outcome for New Jersey.

The high court case centers on the legality of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, which bans all but a handful of states from offering sports betting. New Jersey and other states have challenged PASPA on the grounds it violates the rights of the states.

Multiple media reports after oral arguments cited insiders who suggested the Supreme Court will rule in favor of New Jersey. A decision is expected in May or June.

“It was a momentous occasion to see our fight for sports betting reach the highest court in the land, especially knowing that our six-year battle will reach a final conclusion in the next several months,” said attorney Dennis Drazin, Chief Executive Officer of Darby Development, which operates Monmouth on behalf of the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association. “I am thankful for the leadership of our governor and the New Jersey legislature, the unwavering commitment of the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, and many others who have been instrumental in getting us to today.”

Drazin credited Ron Riccio, general counsel with McElroy, Deutsch, Mulvaney & Carpenter and former Dean of the Seton Hall Law School, and New Jersey Sen. Raymond Lesniak for their work on the issue.

“Everyone’s hard work and dedication were on full display for the court, who I am cautiously optimistic will see things in our favor and the will of the people of New Jersey, who overwhelmingly voted in favor of sports betting, will soon come to fruition,” Drazin said.

Monmouth officials a few years ago teamed with William Hill on sports book located in the track’s grandstand. NJTHA officials said there are plans to use other areas of the track for sports betting should the Supreme Court rule in New Jersey’s favor.

Drazin has said the case is critical to the survival of Monmouth, which contributes to an industry with a $2 billion economic impact in the state.

A transcript of the Dec. 4 oral arguments is available here. A report by Bloomberg on various takeaways from the one-hour session is available here.