Horse Racing and Sports Betting was subject to a lively panel discussion on the opening day of the SBC Digital Summit North America, with Dallas Baker, Head of International Operations, BetMakers; Martin Lycka, Director of Regulatory Affairs GVC Group; Peter Fornatale, ‘Grand Poobah’ In the Money Media LLC; and moderator Bill Pascrell III, Partner Princeton Public Affairs Group & Trustee GVC Global Foundation in attendance.

Among the topics aired during the session was the need for the US to embrace fixed odds betting as opposed to tote betting. Fornatale offered the following perspective, saying: “The power of fixed odds to be a major force is right there in front of us and there’s a few reasons why. 

“We’ve talked already about the ageing demographics in horse racing. I’m fortunate to have an audience that I would call ‘horse racing young’. Something like 45% of my audience is under the age of 44 which for racing really does count. 

“Among the younger people in particular, I do sense a hunger for another alternative. Just recently we’ve had another spate of online hand-wringing – correct hand-wringing – over some of these late odds drops and other technology flaws that we see when it comes to tote bet.”

Talking up the advantages of fixed odds wagering, Fornatale added: “Your everyday rank and file bettor is going to appreciate the fact that you bet a horse at 5-2 and you get $7 back for every $2 you wager. So I think there’s a built-in audience for it. But what I feel the real potential for fixed odds is in reinvigorating the entire market and trying to appeal to a demographic that isn’t already involved in horse racing. 

“I feel like it was tough enough when horse racing was the only game in town to explain these odds drops and the pricing that you don’t get what you pay for necessarily. In a world where everybody is so familiar with sports betting that bug becomes a disaster.

“And I think it’s one of the great ways you can anti-market and turn a potential customer into somebody who has antipathy for racing for life. If you can’t enfranchise the people who are winning at your gambling game you’re really doing a very poor job when it to marketing that gambling game.” 

He concluded: “The appeal of fixed odds – it’s much easier to create a well-disciplined, smart punter who understands how to win. By teaching people to win and making them understand how to read the form and have some notion of what value is, this is a way to bring people in and make them fans for life.”

SBC Digital Summit North America recreates many of the key features of a physical trade show, providing attendees with an opportunity to learn, make new connections, and view the latest products from the comfort of their own home or office. 

Running alongside the conference content is a program of themed networking sessions, while  attendees will also have further opportunities to connect at workshops and in the 20-booth interactive exhibition hall where major international suppliers will showcase their latest innovations. 

SBC Digital Summit North America is running this week July 14-16. To register or obtain more information visit the event’s official website