Down The NJ Sports Betting Stretch: Freehold Raceway Mapping Out Its Launch Plans

NJ sports betting has a lot of players already, but Freehold Raceway has plans in the works and Penn National, while quiet, isn’t staying quiet for long.

The story originally stated that Freehold Raceway and Monmouth Park are in Ocean County. Both are in Monmouth County. NJGS regrets the error.

Freehold Raceway did not make it out of the NJ sports betting starting gates in 2018. It’s looking like this year is going to be a different story.

The partnerships and launch date for online and retail sports betting remain a mystery, but based on a recent Associated Press story, serious discussions are well underway.

The racetrack, located in Central New Jersey, is co-owned by Penn National Gaming and Greenwood Racing. Chris McErlean, a vice president with Penn National Gaming, addressed the plans.

“It’s a good market, and Freehold’s location and demographics bode well for us. We are anxious to get in the game.”

We reached out to Penn National for additional details about the sports betting plans, but the company had nothing new to report.

The racetrack already has its sports betting license from the state racing commision. Freehold would still need to obtain one from the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement.

A temporary retail sportsbook space would need to be built as well.

NJ sports betting trifecta at the racetracks

Freehold Raceway going live with retail and online wagering would mean New Jersey’s three active racetracks are all in the sports betting game.

Nearby Monmouth Park and the Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford are well-established at this point in the game.

The Monmouth Park Sports Book by William Hill accepted the first legal bet in New Jersey sports betting history on June 14. SugarHouse Sportsbook, William Hill NJand TheScore have land-based partnerships in place to offer mobile/online gambling. 

SugarHouse, for its part, joined with Monmouth only recently in order to offer NBA bets.

The FanDuel Sportsbook at the Meadowlands launched July 14.  The FanDuel sports betting app followed on Sept. 1. PointsBet, based out of Australia, has a land-based partnership with the Meadowlands as well. The sports betting platform had a soft launch on Dec. 11.  

However, the delayed start doesn’t seem to be a major concern.

McErlean addressed it in the AP story:

“We’ve been trying to take a measured approach. There was a big rush at the beginning with a lot of locations to get up and running. It’s going to be a long-term thing.”  

The Monmouth Park factor

Freehold and Monmouth Park are both located in Monmouth County. The racetracks are about 20 miles apart, or a 30-minute drive.

For November, according to figures released by the DGE, Monmouth collected $2,679,395 in sports betting revenue. The number is a combination of the William Hill sportsbook app along with the retail operation.

Freehold Raceway itself is located walking distance from the Freehold Raceway Mall, one of the busiest and most popular in the Garden State.

With such a strong competitor nearby and one with months of practice and promotions under its belt, time will tell how much of an impact the two sportsbooks will have on each other.  

A Pennsylvania sports betting connection

Over in Pennsylvania, Hollywood Casino at Penn National Racecourse launched its retail sportsbook on Nov. 17.

It was the first Pennsylvania-based casino to permit sports betting in the Keystone State. The deal includes a partnership with William Hill, just like the one at Monmouth.

Mobile sports betting is expected to follow soon, possibly as soon as the first quarter of this year.

Meanwhile, Parx, owned by Greenwood Gaming and Entertainment, is in the final stages of launching its retail sportsbook.

There was speculation that the property located in the Philadelphia suburbs would open the space in December. The company partnered with Kambi, a European-based company that operates sportsbooks around the globe.

In New Jersey, Kambi has a hand in the industry-leading DraftKings Sportsbook, as well as SugarHouse and 888 Sport.

The owners of Freehold Raceway could decide to extend these existing partnerships. There also could be mystery partners behind door No. 2.

Looking into that 2019 crystal ball, the only thing that seems to be close to a sure thing is that Freehold Raceway will be adding sports betting soon.  

Image credit: Stefan Holm /

Report: Freehold Raceway Lines Up Deals To Enter NJ Sports Betting Landscape

According to Fantini Research, Penn National confirmed that it and Greenwood Gaming will have NJ online sports betting skins via Freehold Raceway.

A recent confirmation from Penn National Gaming indicates that Northern New Jersey will be part of the next expansion of NJ sports betting.

According to Fantini Research, composed of gaming industry analysts and researchers, Penn National confirmed Tuesday morning that it and Greenwood Gaming and Entertainment are in line to obtain online sports betting skins from Freehold Raceway.

The two companies co-own the state’s oldest racetrack.

Penn, Greenwood extend into NJ sports betting

Located a short drive from Monmouth Park, Freehold becomes the third racetrack in the Garden State to have ties to the state’s ever-growing sports betting industry.

As noted by Fantini, negotiations for a retail sportsbook and online operations are underway and should conclude before the new year.

Such a resolution would expand the sports betting footprint of both Penn National and Greenwood.

Last month, just before Thanksgiving, Penn opened the first Pennsylvania sportsbook at Hollywood Casino near Harrisburg.

In the near future, Greenwood is expected to activate its Parx Casino sportsbook in Bensalem, a mere hour’s drive from Freehold just outside of Trenton.

Penn National, which also operates a sportsbook in West Virginia, has partnered with William Hill US, while Greenwood, at least with Parx, has Kambi Group in its corner.

William Hill NJ already runs the retail sportsbook at Monmouth and has a mobile operation in New Jersey. Kambi, meanwhile, powers three NJ online sportsbooks:

PA operators stepping into NJ online gambling

In a way, Greenwood’s entry into New Jersey was foreseen.

Stated in a press release officially announcing the Parx-Kambi partnership last month, one piece of the agreement hinted at such a move.

“The contract … includes a provision for Kambi to support Greenwood Gaming with a potential sports betting operation in the neighbouring state of New Jersey.”

One Pennsylvania-based sports betting operator has already extended its reach into New Jersey.

SugarHouse, based out of Philadelphia and with a retail sportsbook on the way, launched its NJ mobile operation in August. Through October, SugarHouse generated $873,800, the third-most among eight mobile sportsbooks.

Freehold finally comes forward

Since winter 2017, Penn National has expressed interest in introducing sports betting to Freehold Raceway.

In December 2017, Penn National Vice President of Racing Chris McErlean noted that the industry could be quite beneficial for the track.

“Certainly, given the state of the industry in New Jersey, any opportunities for increasing potential revenue and foot traffic within the building is a good thing. … This is an opportunity we’ve been restricted from up to this point and we would certainly welcome this opportunity that will help keep Freehold viable going into the future.”

Freehold already could be in line to reap the rewards of NJ sports betting.

Earlier this month, Meadowlands and the Standardbred Breeders and Owners of New Jersey urged state lawmakers to pass legislation to provide $100 million in purse supplements over the next five years to the racing industry.

Under the bill, introduced in October, Freehold would receive $1.6 million in purse money.

Now it appears the racetrack has another stake in the NJ sports betting world.

Image credit: Jonathan Weiss /