An Update on Fixed Odds Betting in New Jersey

New Jersey is a state of many firsts. Now, the Garden State is one step closer to becoming the first state in the country to offer fixed odds betting on horse races. A bill that will see fixed odds betting on horse races authorized was recently introduced to the New Jersey legislature. The Bill was introduced by state senator Vin Gopal.

A similar bill has also been sponsored by Ralph Caputo, the chairman of the Assembly Gaming Committee, as well as Deputy Republican Leader Assemblyman Ronald Dancer. The bill has received support from both parties so its chances of being ratified look good. If everything goes as planned, the bill should be signed into law by the New Jersey governor Phil Murphy right in time for the start of the 2021 meet at Monmouth Park.

In February, it was announced that Darby Development, the operator of Monmouth Park, has entered into a 10-year partnership with Australian firm BetMakers. As a result of the deal, BetMakers can now manage and distribute fixed odds betting on all races held at Monmouth Park.

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The next step in the legislative process will consist of public hearings to be held before the senate state government, Wagering, Tourism & Historic Preservation Committee. When the bill is approved by the majority of both the Senate and the General Assembly, it will then be sent off to the Governor. The Governor will then put it into consideration and, if he approves, he will sign it so that it can become law.

 

Why is this bill important for fixed odds betting in New Jersey

Although Monmouth expected to start offering fixed odds betting during this year’s meet, these efforts were thwarted by the Attorney General’s office, which is still reviewing the issue. Should the legislation be passed, BetMakers and other fixed bets odds firms should be able to start offering this type of wagering without further delays.

The passing of this bill into law is essential because it will place New Jersey in a unique position. It will be the only state in the country with fixed odds wagering in its horse tracks. Already, fixed odds betting has proven to be extremely popular in other parts of the world including in Australia and Europe.

Although this will be the first time that fixed odds will be available at Monmouth Park, this isn’t the Garden State’s first brush with fixed odds wagering as discussed here. The Garden State has been the only state that allows punters to take part in the betting exchange Betfair.  This exchange lets punters set prices on horses and bets; bets are only matched when 2 bettors or more agree on the odds.

Unfortunately, Betfair stopped its New Jersey Exchange late last year because of the measly betting handles that it was recording.  Betfair ended its NJ exchange after 4 years. Part of the reason why it found it so difficult to reap the rewards was its lack of agreements with the other major tracks.

But this shouldn’t be an issue this time around. BetMakers, PointsBet and other operators hoping to join the NJ market already have partnerships with different tracks across the state. Case in point, Sporttrade, a Philly- based wagering startup, recently announced a deal with Twin River to offer the first sports betting exchange in New Jersey as we’ve covered here.

The benefits of fixed-odds wagering are clear. In fixed-odds wagering, punters can lock in odds on their pick at the moment of the wager without having to be anxious about possible big money plays that might shorten the price later on. Exchange betting also allows in-race wagering after the races have already started. If the races have any hopes of attracting a new breed of punters, fixed odds wagering must become a mainstay.

 

Other horse racing states still resistant to adopt fixed odds betting

New Jersey has been first in line to innovate while other states such as Florida, Kentucky, New York, and California prove resistant to new additions in the industry. Other than New Jersey, the only other state to offer exchange wagering has been California, but it has never really taken any major steps to implement this type of wagering.

The future of wagering on horse races must comprise fixed-odds wagering to supplement the pari-mutuel betting that is already thriving. But pari-mutuel betting has had its moment, and it’s now time to include bigger and better things in the form of fixed-odds bets. Pari-mutuel wagering is great but in all honesty, it is antiquated, stale, takeout remain considerably high and concerns over the integrity of the antiquated system have been rife for decades.

 

Final Thoughts

Fixed-odds betting operators such as BetMakers and PointsBet are pleased that this legislation has been introduced, which should help to push things along in the fast-growing NJ betting market. This bill is an essential step for providing a regulatory framework for fixed-odds wagering to be introduced in not just the U.S. but also the New Jersey betting market.

Once the bill is passed, New Jersey will be a frontrunner in the fixed odds betting market, which will leave the other states to trail behind. Although it still has some ways to go before it is ratified into law, the bill has given operators plenty of time to prepare for the opportunity to offer fixed odds wagering in the Garden State to its customers.

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