The William Hill sportsbook at Monmouth Park reopens, making the races a real celebration this Fourth of July weekend in Oceanport, New Jersey. After more than 3 ½ months of coronavirus lockdowns, live, in-person sports betting on thoroughbred racing goes live at Monmouth Park.
After Governor Phil Murphy finally gave his approval for the track to reopen as part of the Stage 2 easing of restrictions triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic. Monmouth Park re-opened for both sports betting at the William Hill Sportsbook and simulcast wagering on Thursday, July 2.
Also on Friday, July 3, Monmouth Park, celebrated its 75th season of live thoroughbred racing. Unfortunately, the historic horse racing track will only be allowed to operate at 25% capacity. Monmouth Park has been closed to horse racing fans since March 16, when Governor Murphy initiated the lockdown, putting COVID-19 restrictions into place.
“We’re grateful for Governor Murphy’s leadership throughout the pandemic. We look forward to getting back to some semblance of the old normal in these times of a new normal,” said Dennis Drazin, Chairman and CEO of Darby Development LLC, and operator of Monmouth Park. “We know our fans are just as eager to return to Monmouth Park as we are to have them back.”
A Real Sports Betting Celebration
Free parking and free admission are a part of Monmouth Park’s reopening celebration. However, there will be no free parking or admission for the Haskell Invitational scheduled for July 18.
Unfortunately, fans will not be allowed to bring their own food and beverages during the races. Furthermore, spectators are expected to wear masks, social distance, and submit to a temperature check at the main gate.
The 37-days of live racing at Monmouth Park will run from Friday, July 3, through Sunday, September 27. Friday post times will be 5 pm, except for Friday, September 4, when it will be 12:50 p.m. Post times on Saturday and Sunday will be 12:50 p.m., except for the Haskell Invitational on July 18, when the first post time is at noon.
Of course, the William Hill sportsbook will be open to place sports bets on the races.
Meadowlands Harness Racing is Live Too
After more than a 12-week shutdown, one of New Jersey’s two harness racing tracks, The Meadowlands in East Rutherford, will resume racing. Unfortunately, the first harness meet runs on Friday, June 5 will race without spectators in the stands. However, the track’s the FanDuel Sportsbook will be open to fans on Thursday.
The state’s other harness racing track, Freehold Raceway in Freehold, re-opened for simulcast wagering on June 3, with its first live meet on Friday, August 28. The Freehold Raceway Mall, across the street from the racetrack, also re-opened.
William Hill Sportsbook, From Across the Pond to the Jersey Shore
Garden State gamblers may not realize it, but the William Hill sportsbook had its beginnings way back in 1934, in Birmingham, England. At the time, gambling was illegal in England, but that did not bother an enterprising teenager named William Hill.
Young William Hill collected illegal bets from the Birmingham locals from his motorcycle. By 1929, he had moved to London, where he began taking bets on greyhounds. Hill’s next bold move was to open an illicit gambling den on Jermyn Street in 1934. Hill took advantage of a loophole that allowed a credit or postal bet but not betting with cash.
Mr. Hill actively built his gambling brand until his death at age 68, in 1971. After his death, the William Hill sportsbook was acquired by Sears Holdings. Over the years, the company has changed hands several times.
Today, you can find a William Hill sportsbook in nine states across the country; in addition to New Jersey, you can find a retail William Hill sportsbook in Nevada, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Mississippi, New Mexico, Rhode Island, and West Virginia.