Purses at Meadowlands Racetrack are getting a $1 million a year boost from sports betting operations at the track.
The Meadowlands Racetrack and the Standardbred Breeders and Owners of New Jersey (SBOA) announced Dec. 1 that they had reached a 10-year, revenue-sharing agreement. The agreement will add a minimum of $1 million a year to the purse account at the track.
And there’s hope the state is ready to give NJ horse racing another $100 million over the next five years.
When FanDuel Sportsbook at the Meadowlands launched July 14, it quickly became the top-grossing retail sportsbook location in the state. The operation has recorded $15,206,392 in gross sports betting revenue through the end of October 2018. Its FanDuel Sportsbook mobile sports betting app launched Sept. 1.
$100 million horse racing bill
Meanwhile, the track and SBOA are hoping the state is prepared to do even more. Both are pushing for the state to pass legislation providing another $100 million in purse supplements to the racing industry over the next five years.
The bill was introduced in October. It is sponsored by Sens. Vin Gopal, Paul Sarlo, Steven Oroho and Richard Cody.
It calls for a $20 million a year investment by the state into the local racing industry for the next five years. If passed, the payments will begin in fiscal 2019. The money will come from the state’s general fund.
The state would give Thoroughbred racing purses at Monmouth Park, and the short all-turf Thoroughbred races it runs at Meadowlands, $10 million annually.
Other specifics of the NJ bill
Standardbred purses at Meadowlands, Freehold Raceway and the Standardbred breeding industry would split the other half of the money.
The state would give Meadowlands $6 million for harness racing purses and Freehold $1.6 million. The state would give New Jersey Sire Stakes purses $1.2 million. Plus, the state would send New Jersey-sired Standardbreds $600,000 in purse bonuses and Standardbred breeder awards $600,000.
In September, lawmakers referred the bill to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.
Meadowlands and SBOA hopes
Meadowlands owner Jeff Gural and SBOA President Mark Ford are hoping Meadowlands’ move to funnel sports betting money into horse racing will give the state the impetus it needs to move forward.
Gural said he’s hopeful the money will help Meadowlands become a premier racing venue once again:
“With a bill for a five-year $100 million purse appropriation scheduled to be introduced in the legislature shortly, we are all hopeful that we will be able to continue our good work with the SBOA and bring the Meadowlands back to its stature as a premier racing venue.”
Ford implored the rest of the industry to reach out to legislators to let them know how important the bill is to NJ horse racing. He said the industry should look to help out anyway it can:
“If you are betting sporting events, be sure to place your bets with FanDuel at the Meadowlands or use the FanDuel app, as a portion of every dollar you wager will show up in the purse account.”