The future of horse racing has arrived, right in the heart of New Jersey.
Monmouth Park formally confirmed Thursday what PlayNJ and NJGS readers have been following here for nearly two years: the expected nationwide launch of Fixed Odds wagering in the United States at the Oceanport oval.
The industry-changing bet method will be available starting with Monmouth’s opening day card on Saturday, May 7.
This will mark the first time in the United States that a racetrack will offer the new betting format as an alternative option to tote (pari-mutuel) odds.
What is fixed odds wagering?
Fixed Odds wagering allows bettors to retain the odds at the time of their bet, as opposed to tote wagering, where odds are not finalized until betting is completed and the race begins.
The Fixed Odds debut, in the horse-racing vernacular, is just the first furlong. A wider rollout via simulcasting will follow in the coming weeks, with Monmouth Park patrons being able to place fixed odds bets on races coming from tracks throughout the world.
At some point in the future, massive online play will substantially grow the impact of this revolutionary wagering menu even more.
Dennis Drazin, the CEO and chairman of Darby Development, which operates Monmouth Park, was at the forefront of state legislation enabling this innovative betting style.
“We’re excited to finally be able to offer this new wagering opportunity to our fans,” Drazin said during Thursday’s press conference. “We believe this is just the start of what will be an extremely popular wager. For the first time, bettors can shop for the best odds and aren’t subjected to fluctuations that can occur in the tote pool.
“In both Europe and Australia, fixed odds wagering has a proven track record of success and we’re confident it will be just as popular in the United States.”
Where bettors can get fixed odds at Monmouth Park
Bettors will have perhaps two days before the opening day card to access fixed odds on Monmouth’s races (no Kentucky Derby bets via fixed odds, as Churchill Downs is not part of the operating group enabling this feature).
At Monmouth Park, there will be two areas specifically designated for fixed odds wagering. The first-floor grandstand paddock side and the first-floor clubhouse paddock side is where tellers will be stationed.
Initially, there will not be self-service betting available for fixed odds, although that is expected to be added in the near future.
The odds will be displayed above the windows in the designated areas and will also be shown on every television that features Monmouth Park races. NJ horse bettors will notice them to the left of the tote (pari-mutuel) odds on those TV screens.
It will also be shown on the main video board in the infield. Odds will be continually updated throughout the day.
Think along the lines of NJ sports betting
Fixed Odds will bring horse racing in line with other major sports in the legalized betting age. Operators like DraftKings Sportsbook enable gamblers to obtain fixed odds on any game several days in advance.
This is a significant leap for horse racing, which has lost abundant revenue. Here is one scenario:
A bettor places $100 on a horse at 2-1 odds five minutes before the race. The anticipated profit is $200. But just before post time, odds go down to even money on that horse. Projected profit is now $100.
A gambler has lost $100 of potential profit without doing anything.
Because of this dynamic, big bettors may be shy about making a wager on a short-priced horse in advance, especially if they believe the track has a small betting pool.
That concern will be a thing of the past.
The BetMakers, fixed odds wagering connection
Australia-based BetMakers Technology Group will deliver and manage fixed odds wagering at Monmouth Park. And they will do so using the Monmouth Park fixed odds slogan: “the odds that you bet are the odds that you get.”
BetMakers has a data and distribution deal with Monmouth Park. It has the right to provide the track’s fixed odds races to operators, who will in turn turn provide them to gamblers and take bets.
BetMakers has similar deals with several tracks and plans to distribute thousands of races per week throughout the country. They are the representative for this type of wager.
Tracks that want to take Monmouth Park’s signal for fixed odds, for instance, makes a deal with Bet Makers to provide content.
The company has another component that appeals to many individual tracks.
It is the bank and guarantees that the bets are paid.
BetMakers sets and adjusts the odds and will know its heavy hitters, much like a sportsbook knows the “sharps” making big wagers at their establishments.
BetMakers has long-term plans with Monmouth Park
The technology giant has a powerful presence both as signal provider and legalized bookmaker. It has been awaiting this day for a long time.
In January, the company expanded its 10-year agreement with Monmouth Park to 15.
When the deal was extended, Dallas Baker, the head of international operations for BetMakers, told NJGS about the company’s massive resources and vision.
Based on success in Australia, it has invested several million dollars into the fixed odds process. This includes the purchase of Sportech’s Global Tote system.
Baker said then that the company’s ultimate goal was to post betting odds right after entries were announced.
Thursday Night, he told PlayNJ that he expects that trend to continue. However, the initial fixed odds offer for Monmouth’s day-opening card will likely be introduced two days out.
“Going forward, if the fields come out on Tuesday for a Saturday race, we’d like to have odds up then,” Baker said.
“Once the market goes up, the prices are a function of the market and the more popular a horse is, we will have to make adjustments to the price.”
Monmouth Park deserves credit
Baker praised the involvement of Drazin.
He is the one who guided the parties through the tedious process of getting horsemen, the track and regulatory agencies to sign off on fixed odds wagering.
The BetMakers executive thus felt no rush to add other tracks to the horse betting menu for Monmouth customers, at least for about a week.
“Monmouth Park deserves the chance to be the shining light,” Baker said.
“Dennis Drazin, has been an unbelievable partner in business for us. This is a pretty big thing we are doing. There is nothing wrong with having Monmouth Park showcased on Day 1.
“We will bring several other tracks into the mix shortly thereafter. Our goal is to have a full 24-7 solution from race tracks around the world.”
The company eyes the lucrative New Jersey gambling market, which has exceeded $1 billion in NJ sports betting handle multiple times.
In the initial phases of fixed odds wagering, there is no maximum bet but any wager that is calculated to profit more than $5,000 on a win bet or $2,000 on a place or show wager is subject to approval by the BetMakers Trading Department.
2022 horse racing season
Monmouth Park’s 62-day meet runs through Sept. 18.
And it will feature 52 stakes races – 10 graded stakes – worth $8.305 million.
The highlight of the meet is the Grade 1, $1 million TVG.com Haskell Stakes on Saturday, July 23.