New Jersey Track Freehold Raceway to Seek Sports Betting License

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Freehold Raceway parent owners Penn National Gaming and Greenwood Racing – both casino operators that are headquartered in Pennsylvania – are moving forward with plans to incorporate a sportsbook into the historic New Jersey venue.

Freehold Raceway New Jersey sports betting

How would oddsmakers have scored the first photographed triple dead heat, which occurred at New Jersey’s Freehold Raceway 67 years ago? (Image: Wikimedia Commons/Casino.org)

The Freehold Borough Council unanimously approved a resolution this week that allows the harness racing track to proceed in seeking a sports betting license from the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE).

“What we have is a very preliminary two-page document that states their plan is to do some renovations within the envelope of the existing structure,” Freehold Borough Administrator Steve Gallo told the Asbury Park Press.

They’re not adding anything new. It’s not going to trigger any major land use application or anything like that, and this is their first step towards getting a license from the DGE,” Gallo added.

The Freehold Raceway is the oldest horse racetrack in the United States, with its origins dating back to the 1830s. The track was the site of the first photographed “triple dead heat,” in which three horses crossed the finish line at exactly the same time. The race occurred October 3, 1953.

Sports Betting Partner

Through its partnership entity, Pennwood Racing, Penn National and Greenwood jointly acquired Freehold Raceway in 1999 for $46 million.

Now, more than 20 years later, Penn National is one of the largest regional casino operators in the US, with gaming properties in 19 states. Greenwood is the parent company to Parx Casino outside Philadelphia.

As for sports betting, Penn National has partnerships with DraftKings, PointsBet, and The Stars Group. Parx is using a turnkey third-party sports betting platform from its technology provider, GAN.

Pennwood hasn’t said which company it might use for sports betting at Freehold. DraftKings, PointsBet, and Stars are already operational in New Jersey.

Mobile Key

Sports betting has been operational in New Jersey for more than 20 months. The majority of the action is being facilitated through online and mobile channels.

According to revenue reports from the DGE, sports betting gross gaming revenue (GGR) totaled $299.39 million last year. More than $4.58 billion was wagered, with the vast majority – $3.8 billion – bet online.

The Meadowlands, one of two New Jersey horse racetracks with a sportsbook – the other being Monmouth Park – is dominating the Garden State’s sports betting market. Along with partner FanDuel, the North Jersey venue adjacent to MetLife Stadium reported sports GGR of $149.9 million.

Monmouth Park’s haul from sports betting was $25.9 million. Sports wagering revenue is taxed at 8.5 percent on bets placed in person, and 13 percent online.

However, the two racetrack sportsbooks are additionally levied a 1.25 percent tariff on sports betting win that is allocated for its local county and host municipality. Of the 1.25 percent add-on tax, 0.75 percent is reserved for the municipality and 0.5 percent for the county.

2019 Local Sports Betting Tax Share:

Meadowlands: $1,124,369 (East Rutherford) $749,579 (Bergen County)

Monmouth Park: $194,477 (Oceanport) $129,651 (Monmouth County)

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