OCEANPORT: With the 2017 racing season about to begin, Monmouth Park officials have not let a difficult last few years lessen their optimism about the future of the track and the sport.
Dennis Drazin, Advisor to Darby Development, Operator of Monmouth Park spoke during a May 9 press conference about the current state of affairs at the track.
"We continue our efforts to create a fan-friendly facility coupled with top-class racing in New Jersey," Drain said. "Our goal of bringing alternative gaming to the racetrack remains paramount."
Drazin said that although the current administration in Trenton has not been supportive of all of Monmouth Park's endeavors, he said Gov. Christie has been supportive of sports betting. Sports betting is currently under appeal to the United States Supreme Court.
"It's no longer a question of if, but when sports betting will come," Drain said. "Our efforts appear to have snowballed into a national movement."
He said that either sports betting, an expansion of casino gambling to Monmouth Park and other racetracks, or historical racing will help ensure the future of the track. He said the breeding industry also needs help due to lack of funding if the sport is going to survive.
Gov. Richard Codey, who served as governor from 2004-2006 also pledged his support to Monmouth Park and said the current gubernatorial candidates all seem to be supportive.
"This industry may be hurting but it's not dead," Codey said. "This means so much to this community, and to this county and to the state and to keep it alive is the right thing."
Drazin said Monmouth Park also needs to continue to increase revenues from non-gaming business such as food truck events, family events and bringing quality food to the track.
He said alternative gaming such as video games, fantasy sports and even drone racing which appeal to a younger generation are also things that will be considered to help bring renewed interest to the track.
"We have to try take advantage of all of those components...to make this more of a year-round venue to increase revenue at Monmouth Park," he said.