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This story was originally published by The Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit, nonpartisan investigative news organization in Washington, D.C.
OCEANPORT, N.J. — Monmouth Park Racetrack bet its future against long odds, and it’s about to cash in on what it hopes will be a jackpot.
Five years ago, when sports betting was illegal essentially everywhere but Nevada, the 147-year-old horse racing track near the Jersey Shore invested $1.5 million in turning a drab cafeteria into a gleaming, 300-seat bar that could begin taking bets at the turn of a switch. The move was based on a speculative bet that the state would prevail in a fight against the major sports leagues to legalize sports betting.
The bet appears to have paid off: The U.S. Supreme Court ruled against the sports leagues in May, and the New Jersey Legislature is set for a vote as soon as Thursday on legislation to clear the final roadblocks that keep Monmouth Park’s bar from being the first licensed, full-service sports betting parlor in the state.
But the size of Monmouth Park’s payday is still unclear. After fighting an all-out war for years against sports betting, situs judi bola the leagues are now trying to jockey for a piece of the action. Major League Baseball and the National Basketball Association, in particular, have quietly been working behind the scenes for months as they braced for a pivotal decision from the Supreme Court, teaming up on a multistate lobbying blitz to have a say in how sports betting should be legalized.
Click here to read the Center for Public Integrity’s version of this story.
MLB and the NBA have been pressing for “integrity fees” of up to 1 percent of all bets placed on games — purportedly for policing against game-fixing — and drafted what’s known as model legislation to help get the fees codified into law in each state. To make their case, they have been bankrolling more than 80 lobbyists in more than a dozen statehouses and dispatching top officials across the country — from Kansas to New York — to testify in legislative hearings.
All this is part of an influence game that pits the leagues against a host of other special interest groups — including the gambling industry, college athletic programs, players’ unions and even service providers for gambling addicts — while Congress ponders whether to wade into the legal thicket and come up with a new federal framework to regulate sports betting.