NJ Horsemen, Pro Leagues Resolve Sports Betting Lawsuit

NJ Horsemen, Pro Leagues Resolve Sports Betting Lawsuit
By Lou Monaco

A dispute between New Jersey horsemen and professional sports leagues over sports betting has been resolved.

According to a three-page stipulation and order ruling handed down by U.S. District Judge Freda Wolfson, the NCAA and major professional sports leagues have reached an agreement with the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association (NJTHA), according to the Associated Press. The horsemen’s association had sought to open a brick-and-mortar sportsbook at Monmouth Park in Oceanport in 2014 when the sports betting federal ban was still in place.

The NJTHA was seeking $150 million in alleged damages from the four major team sports leagues and the NCAA. No official settlement money was announced during the ruling, but the new agreement is expected to be finalized by Feb. 9, the AP reported.

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Wolfson’s ruling on Jan. 11 stated that in exchange for ending its legal pursuit for more money, the horsemen’s association will be entitled to collect on a $3.4 million escrow bond posted by the leagues in 2014, when they first tried to block the track’s initial attempt at getting sports betting up and running.

That was four years prior to the U.S. Supreme Court’s historic decision in May 2018 that struck down federal law that had prohibited sports betting in all but a few grandfathered states.

“The New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, NCAA, NBA, NFL, NHL and MLB have resolved all disputes arising out of their litigation concerning the legalization of sports gambling in the State of New Jersey,” Anthony Dreyer, an attorney representing the leagues, told the AP. “The parties are pleased to conclude this matter.”

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William Hill Opens at Monmouth Park

Eventually in 2018, the William Hill Sportsbook at Monmouth Park was built. The resolution is from a lawsuit brought by the NJTHA over millions of dollars from the state’s battle to overturn the federal ban on sports wagering.

The NJTHA had sought to recover the $3.4 million bond the leagues posted, when they won a battle for a judge to issue a restraining order to stop Monmouth Park from offering sports betting while the case was being litigated. The bond was meant to secure losses the track might suffer while the restraining order was in place.

Sports betting in New Jersey has grown to see nearly $1 billion in wagers placed monthly. In December, the state reported $996.3 million in total sports handle, a state and national record. Sports betting revenue was $66.4 million for December. Taxes for the state amounted to $8.3 million in the month.



Lou Monaco had been East Coast Scene columnist for Gaming Today in Las Vegas since June 2019, covering the East Coast sportsbook scene with emphasis on NJ and PA. He also currently is a part-time writer for the high school sports department for NJ Advanced Media (NJ.com) in Iselin, NJ. Lou has over 30 years sports experience with previous stints at ESPN SportsTicker, Daily Racing Form and Oddschecker.

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