What Will Monmouth Park Do Now After NJ Gaming Expansion was Rejected?

by Kyle Miller

Monmouth ParkAfter joining up with Meadowlands Racetrack to hopefully see casino gambling expanded in New Jersey, what will Monmouth Park due now that the referendum was rejected?

It was not surprising to anyone that the voters in New Jersey decided to reject a proposal to expand gambling in the northern region of the state, especially after several polls showed that residents of the state were not interested in the expansion. 78% of the voters who visited the polls voted NO on the referendum. Involved in the deal in approval of the expansion was Monmouth Park, who at the last minute had signed on with Meadowlands Racetrack for financial relief. Monmouth Park was set to earn $22 million from Jeff Gural, the operator of Meadowlands Racetrack, to be used to supplement purses as well as the operations at Monmouth. Now, all eyes are on the park and what they will do now that the referendum has failed.

Prime Revenue Now Gone

The Oceanport race track has seen serious declines in revenues, as much as 26% on its last meet, including the amount of money wagers on the races as well as elsewhere. The operators of the track must now try to figure out what to do to maintain their position but also to raise the revenues earned from their racing product, to create something that fans of the sport will want to see and place their bets on.

Dennis Drazin leases Monmouth Park and is an advisor to the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association who stated that overall, he is still optimistic about racing in the state. He plans on continuing to hold on until help comes and he feels that help is just around the corner. Right now, Drazin says there are not a lot of good options that he is happy about having to think about and put on the table but he has to consider whether he can afford to do everything that has been done on a yearly basis.

What’s Being Considered?

It may be that Monmouth Park has to make changes to be able to remain open. These changes could include reducing the number of racing days at Monmouth this year from the original 57 days as well as the turf racing days at the Meadowlands. Currently, the Meadowlands offers turf racing 14 days a year.

Workman’s compensation may also be cut for employees of horsemen as well as the horsemen. This would save the track around $1.8 million each year. Changing or eliminating the bonuses that are provided for trainers and owners for entering horses could take place, money that is paid out to last place during the races. Bred horses running in open company could also lose bonus monies.

According to Drazin, Monmouth Park does not want to do away with quality. The park will not be reducing the purse, which is $1 million for the Haskell as well as maintain the graded stakes. The park may also look at other systems that other states use to try and offset such factors as trainers shipping out. The only way to get horses to run the tracks is to be sure that the purses remain the same.

The deal with Gural was just a bit too late to be able to impact the voting on Tuesday but officials of Monmouth Park do believe that it will be helpful if legislation were to be reintroduced. According to Drazin, the deal should have been made three months ago but Gural was resistant and in denial. The deal does apply to future legislation so hopefully the two will be able to work together later on if legislation were to be passed.