It could be a very painful summer for Monmouth Park Racetrack after the New Jersey thoroughbred race track suffered a 32.8% decrease year-on-year in on-track handle over the recent three-day Memorial Day holiday weekend.
Widely considered the traditional start of the summer season, Memorial Day celebrations take place over the final weekend in May and Monmouth Park Racetrack posted on-track handle of $1.51 million for the period, which is far below last year’s total of $2.26 million.
According to a report in the Asbury Park Press newspaper, overall attendance for the three days dropped by just over 30% year-on-year to 41,969 while wagers from bettors at other locations plummeted by 51.6% to $7.75 million. Monmouth Park Racetrack keeps approximately 4% from the signal it exports to other locations, which means that its revenues declined by around $260,000 when compared with last year.
Dennis Drazin, an adviser to Monmouth Park Racetrack’s operator, the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horseman’s Association, is asking legislators to re-think a plan to set up to two new casinos in the north of the state and at least 72 miles away from Atlantic City. New Jersey voters will be asked in November to approve an amendment to the state’s constitution in order to permit the new casinos in separate northern counties.
“Frankly, what’s hurting us is the decision that was made not to put a casino at Monmouth Park and put in a 72-mile limit outside Atlantic City,” Drazin told the Asbury Park Press. “The Meadowlands casino operator stands to get $300 million and racing gets a very small piece of that. So that decision in and of itself is very bad for Monmouth Park Racetrack. And we’re not looking to take money out. We would put it all right back into the racing.”
Monmouth Park Racetrack gets to keep about 20 cents for every dollar wagered on its grounds and this year saw that amount for the 29 races run over Memorial Day weekend diminish by approximately $149,000. Drazin feels a casino would help supplement purses and future investment in the Oceanport venue.
“There’s a horse shortage; all tracks are suffering the same [with things the way they] are right now,” Drazin told the newspaper. “The future is a circuit where we’re not all running against each other and all the tracks are better off. The tracks in the Mid-Atlantic region need to figure out a way to share the horse colony.”