New Jersey Town Wants Casino

Oceanport New Jersey, home of Monmouth Park Racetrack (l.), says it wants to be considered for a possible casino if the state moves ahead with plans to expand casino gaming. Specifically, the Jersey Shore borough’s council wants the track itself to be the site of a new gambling hall.

Monmouth Park Racetrack in tiny Oceanport New Jersey has been at the forefront of the state’s attempts to institute sports betting. Now the borough council wants the track to go a step further—much further—by becoming the site of a full-fledged casino.

And, of course, Oceanport should get its cut.

The council has passed a resolution saying they support expanding casinos in the state outside of Atlantic City, but only if one is sited at Monmouth Park and if revenue is shared with the host town, the race track and the horse racing industry.

Atlantic City’s struggling casinos have reignited debate in the state about expanding casinos to several proposed northern New Jersey sites including the Meadowlands and Jersey City. First, however, the state will need to put a referendum before the state’s voters to change the state constitution to allow for the expansion.

Officials hope to have such a referendum before voters in November, though there is still strong opposition to the idea—especially form southern New Jersey lawmakers.

Still, the borough hopes the resolution—which argues that the borough should get a host fee for the casino—will put the Monmouth Park site on the short list for any possible new casinos.

“We had always heard it was between Jersey City and the Meadowlands,” Oceanport Councilman Joseph Irace said. “We need to get our name in the mix as part of that discussion. Why leave Monmouth Park out? Let’s see if we can get some traction with this.”

The resolution also calls for using any new casino revenues—wherever its located—to bolster the state’s horse-racing industry by “establishing purses to be competitive with surrounding states as well as infrastructure of same including New Jersey horse farms and breeders.”