Online Fixed-Odds Wagering Gets Its U.S. Debut In New Jersey

All sports bettors know that gaming and odds keep changing before and during a game but that does not have to be an experience to race against. For the first time in the US, New Jersey bettors can now place fixed bets up to 24 hours before a match starts; guaranteeing the odds. The lure here is that an interested player will be able to take an early favorite Cassation at even money, or “2.00” by the decimal listing for fixed odds, to claim the respective prize. 

For pari-mutuel bettors who are used to the traditional betting system, it is possible to take Cassation with the same odds up to 10 minutes before the start of a game and right after witness the odds dropping as the kickoff whistle blows. For bettors in the UK, Australia and Ireland, fixed betting has been available to them for many years. In the United States, the soft launch for online fixed-odds wagers happened a week ago. This was followed by the launch of in person betting at the Oceanport track in May, with a modest six teller windows to start.

Fixed does not mean forever

It is important for online betting enthusiasts to understand that getting the fixed odds privilege does not mean that the number is available every time. The only guarantee that a player gets is that the prize of the bet at the time of betting is what is earned if it is won. The truth is that fixed odds boards are as fluid as the parimutuel counterpart especially towards the start of the race.

The other major difference is that the fixed odd system uses a decimal system to list the bet, meaning that the displayed odds are equivalent to every dollar in the bet. Are you a casual player that is fond of the longshots? It will not matter with fixed odds if you read 40.00” on fixed odds as a 40/1 bet when it is in fact 39/1, in fractional parimutuel odds terms. The outcome of this would be definitely different from a high-stakes player who chooses a horse race at fixed odds of “3.00” with the understanding that fractional odds equivalent in this case is only 2/1. If the chance to place a bet at 3/1 in the parimutuel odds of the moment presents itself, that will be the better option.

Monmouth Park visitors will be kept updated with live, ever-changing parimutuel fixed odds via a large board that displays side-by-side. Making it easy to choose which alternative form of betting is better for the horse they back.

New Jersey leads again

Responding to a question posed at him during the SBC Gaming Conference at the Meadowlands Expo Center in July, the operator of Monmouth Park, Dennis Drazin, revealed that he was part of the legal team that pushed for the Supreme Court to open the door for Las Vegas-style sports betting in any state that chooses to approve it. According to Drazin, the drive to innovate stemmed from recognizing that the horse racing sports would do with new strategies of attracting a much younger audience. 

New York and Pennsylvania racetracks receive huge subsidies drawn from the revenue collected from slot machines situated within the tracks. This is contrary to New Jersey casinos where the presence of brick-and-mortar slots is limited to Atlantic City casinos. Online casino providers definitely need a newer strategy to attract and retain younger players so the idea of fixed odds is an appealing product to use. 

Another interesting point according to Drazin is that he pictures a betting industry that features horse racing into sportsbooks options to offer a gambling product that is available anywhere and whenever it is needed. Since a sports bettor will always have access to the goodies of fixed odds, they will want to attempt horse racing but small wins would potentially turn them off. 

The future of fixed odds

If you are currently signed up as a Monmouth Park races player on the monmouthbets.com platform,  you will have access to fixed odds; but only for a while. This revelation was made by the BetMakers executive Dallas Baker when discussing the progress of NJ Online Gambling. The interest in offering fixed odds is definitely widespread and more than a dozen tracks have already signed up. After New Jersey, the second state that will offer fixed odds is Colorado; this is in line with a law that was passed in the state assembly in March 2022. 

For many horsemen as well as interest groups like Meadowlands Racetrack operator Jeff Gural, Owners Association of New Jersey and Standardbred Breeders, the main concern is that offering fixed odds will cannibalize the entire industry. This is the main reason that Monmouth Park races have fixed odds while races at the Meadowlands or at Freehold Raceway do not. 

In the meantime, BetMakers has extended guarantees to thoroughbred horsemen of New Jersey in the hope that their bottom lines will not suffer the consequences. It is also important to note that show betting, place and win will be part of the fixed odds launch, considering that more than 60% of the state handle is raised from exotics like Pick-6s and trifectas that will remain unaffected. 

Baker has reported that the fixed odds share of the industry had experienced an increase of about 10% in the last three months. This is despite the fact that fixed odds have less than 2% of the teller and self service kiosks in Monmouth Park. 

Final Thoughts

During the just concluded Haskell Stakes race in Oceanport, traditional bettors that capitalized on local favorites won with 7/1 odds. If fixed odds were applied here, the players could have gained between 8/1 and 10/1. For now, the promotional of fixed odds is reserved for word of mouth and Monmouth Park patrons have been particularly active in this. Even though potential players are encouraged to ask questions for clarification, this will most definitely change when the website starts featuring multiple tracks at the same time.

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