New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy ceremonially placed the US state’s first legal sports wagers as betting went live at Monmouth Park on Thursday morning.
The man who earlier this week signed the legislation to allow sports betting after the state’s five-year legal battle backed Germany for the FIFA World Cup and the New Jersey Devils to win the 2018-19 Stanley Cup.
The Monmouth Park Sports Book by William Hill, located on the first floor of the grandstand, features a 15-window betting shop, with a sports bar and over 40 HDTVs showing live events.
The launch of operations comes five years after William Hill began partnering Monmouth Park in anticipation of the repeal of Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), which finally came last month through a Supreme Court ruling.
“We are excited to open for business at Monmouth Park,” said Joe Asher, chief executive of William Hill US.
“Obviously, it’s a big day for us. A lot of people have worked really hard for a long time to make today possible and I am grateful for their efforts.”
Philip Bowcock, William Hill chief executive, said: “We are full of excitement about the future, and from the scenes in New Jersey so are the sports fans in the US.
“This is just the beginning – there is a lot of work to do but we are in a strong position and today’s US launch gives us even more confidence about the future.”
Former state Senator Ray Lesniak, who filed the first lawsuit to get PASPA overturned, was also present at Monmouth Park.
He told reporters: “The racing industry is important to New Jersey. We have more acres of horse farms than any state in the nation.
“So it’s very important to have this here at Monmouth Park and it’s also very important to save our casinos.”