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NEWS 10 July 2018

Monmouth Park demands $150m from sports leagues

By Oliver Rudgewick

New Jersey racetrack Monmouth Park, who took the first legal sports wager in the state are looking for $150m in lost revenue after they were “wrongfully” blocked from taking sports bets in 2014.

The case was filed in May by the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association (NJTHA), the group that owns Monmouth Park. The filing singled out the commissioners of the big four sports organisation (NBA, NFL, NHL, and MLB) and the NCAA, as they defended PASPA, whilst building relationships with daily fantasy sports providers.

“The commissioners falsely described to this court in meticulous detail the catastrophic consequences they swore would follow from the spread of sports betting,” the racetrack’s attorney, Ronald J. Riccio, said in his filing. “None of this was close to being true."

Three of the four major sports leagues, the NBA, the NHL, and MLB have ownership stakes in either DraftKings or FanDuel, the two major venues for daily fantasy gaming. Many sports teams including 91% of NFL teams have had a partnership with either FanDuel or DraftKings.

In addition to two NFL team owners, Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys and Robert Kraft of the New England Patriots, own equity stakes in DraftKings. “Such ownership violates the NFL’s purported Policy prohibiting them from becoming involved with “Gambling-Related Businesses," according to Riccio.

Firstly, Monmouth wants the leagues to pay up a $3.4m bond they took out in 2014 when they sued to block New Jersey’s law legalising sports betting.

This bond was set in place by US District Judge Michael A. Shipp who saw over the 2014 suit, and the racetrack would be compensated if it were eventually found to have been “wrongfully enjoined” from accepting wagers.

“The leagues made a losing bet,” the racetrack owner says in its federal court filing. “It’s time to pay up.”

The leagues have until the 16 July to file a formal response to Monmouth Park’s claim. In a letter judge who is hearing the case, the leagues called the compensation request “meritless, if not frivolous”.  

RELATED TAGS: Legal & Regulatory | Sports Betting
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