Ready to make your first bet at the Meadowlands Racetrack on July 15?
Turns out you’d be a day behind. That’s because a track official revealed on Monday that the official launch has been moved up by 24 hours.
July 14 is a Saturday, and the day of the 42nd annual Meadowlands Pace, a race for three-year-old trotters. The purse for many years was $1 million, and while it has dropped to three-quarters of that level in recent years, it still draws one of the better crowds of the Meadowlands racing season.
So it makes sense to have that crowd be offered another amenity (beyond the Battle of the BBQ event and of course the races). It’s also a reason for patrons to arrive earlier: post time for the first race is 6:35 p.m., while the sports betting windows – operated by BetFair US, a subsidiary of Paddy Power Betfair – are scheduled to open at 11 a.m.
“The timing is much better and in correlation with one of our biggest race days, the Meadowlands Pace,” said Meadowlands Racetrack general manager, Jason Settlemoir, in a statement to NorthJersey.com.
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Bettors can even catch a glimpse of “dignitaries,” as the track describes them, making the first bets around 9:30 a.m. at the Victory Sports Bet and Club, located just a few steps from the facility’s main entrance. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy might be around to try and win back the $20 he lost betting on Germany to win the World Cup when he launched sports betting at Monmouth Park last month (Murphy once was U.S. Ambassador to Germany, so he bet with his heart).
Speaking of the World Cup, that’s another reason why the Meadowlands may be firing the gun on sports betting early. The final in Russia begins on July 15 – the original launch for sports betting at The Big M – at 11 a.m. Now, Meadowlands visitors on Pace Day can plunk down cash on their preferred team ahead of the World Cup title match.
Given this, and the fact that the Meadowlands does not feature live racing this Sunday (or any Sunday for that matter), going with a Saturday launch appears to be the “smart money” way to spread sports betting awareness at the BigM during this critical nascent stage.