By Chris Rotolo
OCEANPORT – Kentucky Derby weekend kicked off the racing season at Monmouth Park, with 20,736 fans on hand for the first of 52 racing events scheduled from May through September.
On Tuesday, Monmouth Park hosted the track’s annual luncheon and press conference. Dennis Drazin, the CEO of Darby Development, which operates Monmouth on behalf of the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, seized the moment to predict victory in the campaign to bring sports wagering to the track.
“The question for years has been ‘How is Monmouth Park going to survive?’ and the answer seems to be in alternative gaming. Now we’re on the precipice of victory in the U.S. Supreme Court on sports betting and I sense the excitement building day by day,” Drazin told the crowd.
“It’s taken a long while, but we see that light at the end of the tunnel. In the scheme of things, I can assure you a victory.”
Drazin believes the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on legalized sports betting at racetracks and casinos in New Jersey could come as early as Monday, but perhaps more l likely in June.
The optimistic Drazin views a sports wagering victory as a win on a national scale, stating: “This case has a much broader importance for the country. This is history in the making. This is a state’s rights case. This is a constitutional case. We’re about to make history for this county.”
His push has led to the development of the William Hill Race & Sports Bar, which will be immediately transformed into the park’s sports book with a victory. Drazin also announced Tuesday the sports bar has received another $1 million investment in upgrades to improve its grandstand seating.
Drazin came down hard on his opponents in the case – the country’s major sports leagues – which have long proposed that sports betting would compromise the integrity of their respective games.
“For the leagues to suggest that integrity is an issue for them – when they do everything to encourage it, including moving NHL and NFL franchises to Vegas – do they really want to stop sports betting? I don’t think so,” Drazin said.
“This is all about them trying to get a revenue share and picking our pockets after they’ve lost the case,” Drazin said. “Shame on them. Look at the commissioners’ salaries. Look at what the coaches make. Look at what players earn. Do they really need to come and pick our pockets?”
This article was first published in the May 10-17, 2018 print edition of The Two River Times.
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