Monmouth Park is about to take the next step in integrating fixed-odds wagering into US horse racing. The New Jersey thoroughbred track will launch an online betting app in time for its premier race, the Haskell Stakes on July 23.
That announcement for MonmouthBets.com came during a panel discussion on fixed-odds racing Thursday at SBC Summit North America.
It’s huge to be online in addition to bringing the people in that are typical visitors to Monmouth Park who bet in our retail books, because not everyone can come all the time,” Monmouth Park Chairman and CEO Dennis Drazin told Casino.org after the session.
As the name implies, fixed-odds wagering means the bettor gets the odds as they were at the time of the bet. For more than a century, US racing has used the parimutuel system, where odds fluctuate based on the money that comes in.
So, a bettor may place a wager 10 minutes before post time on a horse with 5-1 odds, but by the time the race starts, the odds may drop to 3-1 or lower.
“This way, you can bet with confidence because you know what the odds are going to be, and I think that people are getting used to betting online, particularly with the sportsbooks and 4NJBets (an advanced-deposit wagering racing site) and online casino wagering,” Drazin said. “So, it’s really what the younger demographics are doing these days.”
With fixed odds, bettors can place their wagers up to a day in advance on the races at Monmouth. However, the betting markets are limited to just straight win, place, and show bets for now.
Mobile is Where Fixed Odds ‘Takes Off’
After working on launching the new product in New Jersey for a couple of years, Monmouth Park was finally able to roll it out at the start of its current meet in early May. Track officials have worked with Australian-based operator BetMakers to offer fixed odds at six betting windows.
Even though the new wagering product has only available at less than 2% of Monmouth Park’s windows, Bill Pascrell III, a lobbyist who helped generate support for fixed-odds legislation through the New Jersey legislature, said those windows are doing about 15% of the on-track handle.
Monmouth, which typically holds races Friday through Sunday, had an on-track handle of $808,339 last weekend, according to figures from Equibase.
That, Pascrell told Casino.org, is proof of a market for fixed-odds wagering.
“We’re going to start to market for the mobile and PC,” he said. “That’s where we think this thing takes off.”
The Haskell is the first major race for 3-year-olds after the Triple Crown races and typically attracts a strong field. This year’s race could feature Preakness winner Early Voting, undefeated Jack Christopher, and possibly a horse or two from trainer Bob Baffert in what could serve as his return to top-tier racing after serving a 90-day suspension for Medina Spirit’s failed drug test after last year’s Kentucky Derby.
Where Will Fixed-Odds Racing Launch Next?
Much like New Jersey opened the door for the rest of the US to offer sports betting, Drazin and Pascrell believe fixed-odds racing can also take hold across the country. Drazin told the SBC crowd he thinks it could command half of the betting handle within five years.
Pascrell is already working on getting more states on board. Officials in Colorado have already approved fixed-odds racing, and he said a pilot program could launch soon as a deal is “imminent” there. Other states such as Louisiana and Michigan could follow quickly behind.
As more states get on board, there’s hope that sportsbooks will soon follow. BetMakers, a business-to-business sports betting technology company, has the rights to the Monmouth Park signal and provides the platform for MonmouthBets. Christian Stuart, the CEO of the company’s US division, said getting more operators on board will be key.
“They’re the real marketers,” he said. “They have the brands. They have the reach. We’re going to launch mammoth bets, and it’s going to be successful. But, I think if you want to see the real power of it, it is going to be having all the sportsbooks with fixed odds.”
Fixed-odds wagering will be an enticing market for sportsbooks because since racing is an international sport that runs nearly every day around the clock, it means there will be a lot of betting opportunities.
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