Meadowlands Racetrack announced earlier today that it will begin taking sports wagers on Saturday, July 14th. The racetrack originally announced last month that the Meadowlands sportsbook would open for business on July 15th, but they have since moved it up one day ahead of schedule in order to take advantage of better timing.
Meadowlands general manager Jason Settlemoir told NorthJersey.com that July 14th offers timing that is “much better and in correlation with one of our biggest race days, the Meadowlands Pace.”
The Meadowlands Victory Sports Bar and Club will have a special opening ceremony at 9:30 AM. There, special guests will give a speech or two and have the honors of placing the first legal sports bets at Meadowlands. The sportsbook will then open to the general public at 11:00 AM on Saturday.
Meadowlands will also be hosting the BBQ Battle that evening from 6 to 10 PM featuring hot food from local BBQ restaurants in the Backyard. The Meadowlands Pace is scheduled to go off at 6:35 PM.
Jeff Gural, owner of the Meadowlands, has hit a streak of good luck in recent weeks between the New Jersey sports betting ruling and New York’s failure to pass a sports betting bill during the previous legislative session.
The Meadowlands is located just across the Hudson River from Manhattan, and Gural knows what that means. Here’s what he told the Associated Press last month:
“New York did me such a favor by not passing sports betting. That leaves me the entirety of New York City, Long Island, Westchester County. There are 15 million people that live within 20 miles of the Meadowlands. They gave me a tremendous gift.”
Gural is excited for the new opportunity, but told the Associated Press last month that NJ sports betting will not save the local horse racing industry all by itself. While tracks in nearby states receive state subsidies, those ended for tracks in New Jersey back in 2011. Gural said that if they can’t get those subsidies reinstated, the Meadowlands may eventually have no choice but to call off its live racing schedule and transition into only offering simulcasting and sports betting.
Details on the soon-to-be-opened sportsbook are still sparse at this time. As of this writing, operating hours and other information has not yet been released. What we do know is the Meadowlands has partnered with Betfair US to run its sports betting operation and that the sportsbook will offer wagers on professional and collegiate sports.
Betfair US is a subsidiary of international gaming giant Paddy Power Betfair. That company has extensive experience in sports betting and should be able to offer customers a thorough sports betting experience.
The Associated Press also reports that the Meadowlands does plan to offer online sports betting in New Jersey, but has not offered a specific timeline for that. The earliest any NJ sportsbook can venture into online sports betting is July 11th due to a clause in recently-approved regulations implementing a 30-day waiting period before allowing online wagers.
It stands to reason that the Meadowlands will first want to open its physical sportsbook to get things up and running from a technical, financial and experience standpoint. However, having Betfair US on their side will make the transition into online sports betting easy. Betfair knows its way around online gaming with vast experience in other regulated markets such as the UK.