In 2015, the Atlantic City Race Course in New Jersey shut down after its final horse race. The property has remained vacant for the past few years and the land has now become a top priority for the Hamilton Township where the facility is located. Officials in the area are now looking to redevelop the land. The owner of the facility, Greenwood ACRA, recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the township so that a development plan will be created to benefit the area.
Sports Betting Consideration
One option for the venue is to consider adding sports betting to the property. The laws of the state require a sportsbook to be connected to a casino in Atlantic City or a racetrack, such as the Meadowlands or Monmouth Park. For the racetracks that are closed down, a betting license can be applied for if a race was held onsite within a 15-year time frame since the sports betting law passed in the state.
With this caveat, the Atlantic City Race Course would be eligible to build a sports betting facility. If the property opened to offer a sportsbook, they would be the only licensee to offer sports betting as their only business. Many are wondering if the racing facility opens a sportsbook if it will be enough for the property to survive.
The sports betting industry in New Jersey is only eighteen months old and would be well-established by the time the Atlantic City Race Course started offering sports betting. It could take years to get started. While this could help the facility do well, many sports bettors will already have established accounts at their favorite providers. If the site were to start offering services so late, it might not be enough to build a strong flow of traffic to keep the facility afloat.
Fighting Another Track
While the consideration for sports betting is being made at the shutdown racetrack, the company behind the brand is currently fighting another closed facility. Greenwood is trying to stop the Garden State Park facility in Cherry Hill from opening sports betting services. According to Greenwood, they have an agreement that provides them with exclusive rights to open a sportsbook onsite.
For the sportsbook to be legal, it would have to be placed inside the original track. The track is no longer onsite due to a development on the property. Surprisingly, the original track is not located on the acreage that Greenwood owns as their parcel is located nearby. However, a judge in the case ruled in favor of Greenwood.
The reason behind the decision to fight the sportsbook by Greenwood could be due to their Parx Casino and Racing facility in Pennsylvania. The sportsbook of this property would be near the Cherry Hill site which could affect the revenues of the property.
So, will Greenwood decide to open a sportsbook at the Atlantic City Race Course? Only time will tell. Many feel that the property will not reopen with a sportsbook. The location is not the best and it would take years for the sportsbook to be up and running, which would only harm the operation, due to potential saturation of the market.
The company is already offering online gaming, having partnered with GAN to provide online casino gaming via the Parx Casino. For now, we will have to wait and see what the development plan between Greenwood and the Hamilton Township will bring to the region. While gaming might be on the table, Greenwood may choose to go another route with the property.