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When the US Supreme Court ruled on May of 2018 that sports betting was legal on a state-by-state basis, the Meadowlands Racetrack and Monmouth Park were quick in setting up their sports wagering businesses. Freehold Raceway sat back while its rivals started raking in millions, but now it looks as if the track is ready to enter the sports gambling trade.
According to the Asbury Park Press, the Freehold Borough Council recently gave unanimous approval to the racetrack’s plans to apply for a sports wagering license from the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE). Those plans include minor renovations to the grandstand so the venue can accommodate sports wagering facilities.
In New Jersey all of the casinos and racetracks can offer a maximum of three mobile betting platforms or “skins”. Penn National Gaming, which owns 50% of Freehold Raceway, already has several betting partnerships in place, including deals with big-name brands such as PointsBet, DraftKings, theScore, and The Stars Group. All of these could be license holders to run their operations at the racetrack. Both DraftKings and The Stars Group already have an existing deal with Resorts Casino in Atlantic City. PointsBet is a partner of Meadowlands Racetrack and theScore is tied up with Monmouth Park.
Penn National has made headlines lately due to its new partnership with the controversial Barstool Sports blog. In January of this year Penn National announced that it would purchase 36% of the company for $163 million. A land-based local for Barstool Sports could draw significant attention in New Jersey due to the brand’s brash, masculine style.
Freehold Raceway is only 17 miles away from the state’s most popular thoroughbred racetrack, Monmouth Park, which has a sports betting partnership with William Hill. If Freehold had such a similarly established partner, it could be hugely beneficial for the racetrack.
Barstool Sports has been a controversial company for some time. Recently the founder of the company, Dave Portnoy, who has over one million followers on Twitter, recommended those followers “attack” a NASCAR reporter that came out with a sarcastic remark about Barstool.
When the Penn National and Barstool Sports deal was announced, Penn executive Jon Kaplowitz said he expected that a “best in class” sports betting app would be live by the third quarter of this year, which would make it available to customers for the next football season.
“Our team is excited to begin collaborating with Barstool Sports on ways to utilize its key talent and leading content to drive audiences to Penn National’s online gaming products and retail locations, as well as to special events and fan experiences,” Kaplowitz said.
Freehold Raceway is one of several venues that are yet to exercise their right to open New Jersey sportsbooks. Caesars Atlantic City has no retail sports betting, although its sister site, Bally’s Atlantic City, boasts the largest sportsbook in the region. The former Garden State Park in Cherry Hill has been dealing with arduous legal issues, while there has been no action taken by Atlantic City Race Course.