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Legal battle continues over potential sports betting site

August 5, 2019

CAMDEN, N.J. (AP) — A judge could make a key ruling this month in a legal battle over whether a developer can open a sports book at a former southern New Jersey racetrack.

The former Garden State Park in Cherry Hill is one of only five locations outside Atlantic City that can offer sports betting under New Jersey law passed last year after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a federal ban. The last races were run there in 2001.

In the first year of legal sports gambling in New Jersey, gamblers wagered more than $3 billion at Atlantic City’s casinos and Monmouth and Meadowlands racetracks, helping the state challenge Nevada for the nationwide lead.

Greenwood Racing, a successor to a company that ran Garden State Park, is locked in a dispute with Cherry Hill Towne Center Partners, which has developed part of the area as a mixed-use residential and retail center and sued last year to operate a sports book on the site of the racetrack’s former oval.

Last month, the developer wrote in a court filing that it was close to finalizing a deal with a company that is already operating a sports book in New Jersey, which could enable it to get state licensing approval within three to four months.

Greenwood contends that a 1999 document prevents anyone else from allowing gambling on the site and is seeking a preliminary injunction.

Last month, Cherry Hill Towne Center Partners wrote that it should be able to apply for a state license without regard to the dispute over the 1999 document.

In a filing Monday, Greenwood argued the developer can’t apply for a sports gambling license from the state without the pending lawsuit being a factor and without Greenwood being given a chance to oppose it.

The developer “unequivocally is obligated to disclose to the New Jersey Racing Commission the existence of the restrictive covenant at issue in this case and the existence of this lawsuit,” the defendants wrote.

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