“I’m fairly confident we can get open by the start of football season.”
That was the response Dennis Drazin, the chairman and CEO of Darby Development LLC, which operates Monmouth Park, gave to the Asbury Park Press when asked when the racetrack will launch mobile NJ sports betting.
Monmouth Park was the first venue in New Jersey to accept sports wagers following the repeal of PASPA. In fact, it was ready to take sports bets ahead of the state releasing the necessary regulations and had to hold off for a few weeks.
That is why it is somewhat surprising to see them falling far behind in the race to launch online sports betting.
It has been three weeks since DraftKings Sportsbook shocked the sports betting industry by launching the first mobile sports app in the Garden State.
Since then, DraftKings has had the dance floor all to themselves. That is until this week when PlayMGM and SugarHouse Sportsbook launched their mobile sports betting apps.
Even as more players come online, there is still no sign of Monmouth Park.
Will Monmouth get online by football season?
Drazin says yes, Monmouth Park will be ready.
But with College Football set to kick off this weekend, it seems more prudent to aim for the start of NFL season (Sept. 6).
Monmouth Park’s sports betting partner, William Hill US, is in the midst of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) vetting process. No definitive timeline has been made public.
The football season is expected to be the most lucrative sport for the sports betting market. There is no doubt everyone behind the scenes is working feverishly to get up and running as soon as possible.
Drazin is aware that timing is everything:
“I spoke with Joe Asher (CEO of William Hill US) and he says we’re close and the DGE is working as hard as they can to try and get us up and running before football season starts. He is very mindful of the fact that we need to be open before football. He thinks we’re close but can’t give me an exact date.”
Monmouth Park hoping for a revenue boost
It’s no secret that Monmouth Park has been struggling to stay alive. NJ sports betting and online sports betting has the potential to give the track a new lease on life.
Initially, that looked to be the case. In June, Monmouth Park was sitting on top of the New Jersey sports betting scene. It earned $2.3 million in revenue during its first two weeks of operation. That figure was more than double its nearest competitor, Borgata.
Its king-of-the-hill status was short-lived, however.
July, the first full month of operation, painted a different picture for the Oceanport racetrack. Monmouth Park posted just $856,280 in revenue, a decline of 60 percent compared to the revenue it posted for only two weeks in the previous month.
To make matters worse, revenue related to its racing operation fell dramatically in August. The decline in revenue alone is incentive enough for Monmouth Park to get online as soon as possible.
Late to the NJ online sports betting party
Being late to the mobile sports betting party will not do any favors for Monmouth Park. Big brand names are busy building their customer bases and creating their niche.
But there is one big plus working in Monmouth’s favor: Its partnership with William Hill. William Hill is one of the most recognizable names in sports betting.
If the company can get up and running before football, then it stands a chance to be a significant player in the NJ online sports betting market.
If they miss the first kick off, however, Monmouth Park may find itself in the unenviable position of playing catch-up this fall.