NEWARK, N.J. — A New Jersey horse racing association filed a legal action against the four major pro sports leagues and the NCAA Thursday, claiming the leagues cost one of the state’s racetracks more than $130 million in lost revenue by blocking legal sports betting.
The action filed by the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association claims the leagues acted in bad faith when they sought a restraining order in 2014 to block Monmouth Park Racetrack from offering sports betting, because the pro leagues were actively promoting and endorsing businesses that made millions from fantasy sports games that rely on individual player performances.
The leagues and the NCAA sued then-Republican Gov. Chris Christie after Christie signed a law lifting bans on sports betting at casinos and racetracks.
The leagues had argued that expanding sports betting outside of four states where it is allowed — only Nevada allows single-game wagering — would damage the integrity of the games. They also argued New Jersey’s law violated the 1992 federal Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act that barred states from authorizing sports betting.
After a yearslong legal battle, the Supreme Court this month sided with New Jersey and struck down PASPA, writing that the law was unconstitutional.
The horsemen’s association’s filing claims Monmouth Park would have made $139 million in revenue from sports betting between November 2014, when a judge imposed a permanent injunction barring the state from offering sports betting, and this month’s Supreme Court ruling.
“During the intervening years the Leagues’ actions nearly put Monmouth Park out of business, inflicted significant financial and emotional hardship on hundreds of innocent Monmouth Park workers, and jeopardized the continued viability of New Jersey’s entire equine industry,” the filing alleges.
The filing seeks payment of a $3.4 million bond the leagues posted in 2014 to secure any loss the horsemen’s association might suffer during the time the temporary restraining order was in effect.
It also seeks an evidentiary hearing to determine the total damages owed by the leagues.
Spokesmen for the National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball, NCAA and National Football League didn’t immediately return messages seeking comment Thursday.