United States Supreme Court Justices

  • The New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association is seeking $150 million in damages for being stopped from opening a sportsbook for four years at Monmouth Park.
  • The pro leagues stopped the horsemen from accepting bets because they said it would hurt their business and now they are being sued for $150 million by the Association.

NEW YORK – The New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association’s case will be heard by nine members of the Supreme Court to vote on whether or not to take the case or have it be heard by a federal district court instead.

The horsemen are seeking restitution in the sum of $150 million for the four years that they were prohibited from opening a sportsbook despite the state of New Jersey having legalized it in 2014.

In 2014, the NCAA, NBA, NFL, and MLB all sought to restrict legal sports betting at the track believing it would infringe upon their businesses.

An injunction that cost the leagues $3.4 million was placed in 2014 so that horse races like those at Monmouth Park were prohibited from accepting bets. This remained the status of the track from 2014-2018 for which they want to be paid by the leagues in money from lost wagers they believe they would’ve made had they been allowed to have sports betting.

Originally, the case was settled with a judgment that said the horsemen were owed the $3.4 million that the leagues paid plus four years of interest, however, they want the entire amount they could’ve made during that time instead.

What’s Next?

During the May 15 Conference of the US Supreme Court justices, the members will go over the New Jersey sports betting case. Four of the nine justices would need to be in favor of taking on the case for it to move forward and be heard by a panel within the Supreme Court.

Should less than four be in favor of it, a settlement case will be done with a federal district court to come up with a more suitable amount of money in restitution to be paid to the horsemen.

But both the horsemen and the leagues continue to disagree on the issue. The leagues believe that getting an injunction was the right move by the courts at the time while the horsemen maintain that had they been able to accept bets that it would not have affected the sports betting market for the leagues in any way.

How Did They Come Up With That Number?

Monmouth Park was unable to accept bets from November 2014 – May 2018. With the use of gaming research firm Eilers and Krejcik, the track came up with a $139.7 million estimate in lost money for that timeframe. Add the original $3.4 million-plus four years of interest from the original ruling and the total is $150 million.

The race track is now home to a William Hill sportsbook where they have a handle in the range of hundreds of millions of dollars with each year they’ve been in business. This would equate to the research firm’s estimate in lost wages and $150 million in damages to be a proper estimate.

Until the case is voted on by the Supreme Court justices, there is no telling which court will handle the settlement. Either way, with the Coronavirus pandemic halting all sports match ups, the timing is not pretty for the leagues to have to deal with such a large sum case and no money coming in at the moment.

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