The Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia is scheduled begin hearing oral arguments on March 17 in New Jersey’s second bid to legalize sports gambling. Construction on the 7,500 seat Monmouth Park Amphitheater was halted after a federal judge issued a restraining order barring the implementation of sports betting at the track. Funding for the project seems to have evaporated after that ruling as well.
The $10 million project could go ahead, but not in time for the 2015 concert season as was planned to begin in May under the direction of music promoter Jerry Bakal and AEG Live. Other parts of the project may open this year including a restaurant. The Bluegrass Miniature Golf Course has already opened. Ground was broken on the amphitheater project last October with planned seating for 3,500 and an open lawn area for another 4,000.
If the court takes too long to decide or if the decision doesn’t favor sports betting, Fantasy Sports may still save the day. Monmouth Park announced on February 24th that they would be partnering with Fantasy Sports Network to bring the Monmouth Park Daily Fantasy Game, featuring professional sporting events, in the coming months.
Another glimmer of hope for the raceway that first opened in 1870 and faces continuing pressure from racinos and casinos for the betting dollar, came in late February when the Oceanport city council expressed strong support for a casino to be built at Monmouth Park if New Jersey legislators vote to place a referendum on the November ballot to expand gambling beyond Atlantic City.