Garden State Park Still Champing At The Bit For A Standalone Sportsbook

The ongoing saga of Cherry Hill’s desire for a standalone sportsbook in New Jersey continues.

In response to a judge’s request, Cherry Hill Towne Partners, LLC, filed a legal brief on Monday in the latest attempt to open a sportsbook at the former Garden State Park racetrack.

Brown & Connery, LLP, is the firm representing Cherry Hill in its ongoing legal battle against GS Park Racing and Greenwood Racing.

One of the bigger issues centers around land usage.

However, attorney William Tambussi argues that “the state’s licensing requirements must be considered independently of any alleged restrictions upon the land.”

“Simply put, the rules and regulations governing licensing eligibility are completely divorced from the restrictive covenant at issue in this case, and should have no bearing on whether Plaintiff is entitled to a sports wagering license.”

You can read the full document sent to Judge Renee Marie Bumb here.

No secret about Cherry Hill’s sports betting plans

Jack Morris, a controlling member of CHTC, has shared small details about the vacant space at Market Place & Towne Place at Garden State Park.

The proposed site is located in the oval of the former racetrack, as required by NJ sports betting legislation.

Being a part-owner of Hard Rock Casino in Atlantic City, Morris is familiar with the licensing process.

The casino launched its mobile and retail sportsbook operations earlier this year with partner Gaming Innovation Group. Plus, additional sports betting apps from Unibet NJ and Bet365 NJ are coming soon.

In other words, Morris is ready to get the ball rolling at GSP, too.

And a sportsbook partner?

According to the court documents, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement has conducted a preliminary site inspection of the proposed facility.

“… CHTC has commenced the build-out of the facility and is prepared to complete the build-out of the facility.”

The names of potential partners have not been revealed… yet. But CHTC is in “active discussions” with two sports wagering operators.

Both companies are fully licensed by DGE and operating in the Garden State.

For the record, the Stars Group (aka BetStars NJ) and William Hill (Caesars) have offices in Cherry Hill and already have a huge presence in online and retail betting in NJ.

But to be fair, they are two of several companies that could be in the running.

The standalone facility will be located behind Zinburger and near the Cheesecake Factory and Nordstrom Rack. It could be operational in approximately 90 to 120 days, according to the filing.

That means we won’t see anything in time for football season.

Claim $50 at FOX Bet

Not so fast, Jack

The GSP retail betting story is one that’s been tied up in legal limbo for months.

GS Park Racing and Greenwood Racing, the defendants, want to prevent CHTC from “opening and operating a sports wagering lounge or engaging in the business of sports wagering at or within GSP property.”

The former owners claim that they have full rights to deciding when or if a sportsbook will open at the former racetrack.

The last live horse race at Garden State Park took place in 2001.

But New Jersey sports betting law includes a licensing loophole in which the state’s two shuttered racetracks are eligible to apply for a sports betting license.

The old Atlantic City racetrack is the other site, but it’s been quiet as a church mouse on that front.

NJ sportsbook battle lines are drawn

Garden State Park is located fewer than 10 miles from Philadelphia. Adding a new sportsbook would certainly make things easier for retail customers who live or work nearby.

Garden State Park Racing, the track’s former operator, and Greenwood Racing, which owns and operates Parx Casino in Pennsylvania, have different views on the issue.

But only one side will win eventually.

Over in Pennsylvania, Parx recently launched its sports betting app and online casino. Plus it has its own retail sportsbook up and running.

As to whether or not retail sports betting comes to Cherry Hill, call it a work in progress.

Until then, wagering is available on 14 sports betting apps.

Photo courtesy of Towne Place at Garden State Park.

About the Author

Bill Gelman

Bill Gelman is a veteran sports writer based just outside of Philadelphia and not too far from the Jersey Shore. Bill spends time in Atlantic City writing about casino openings and expansions, special events and world championship boxing at Boardwalk Hall. He is now adding NJ sports betting and online gambling to the mix.