Image Source: Skip Dickstein / BetMakers

The introduction of fixed odds betting for horse racing in New Jersey presents a ‘game-changing opportunity’ for the industry, said BetMakers COO Jake Henson, who believes that more states will eventually follow in the Garden State’s footsteps.

Speaking to SBC Americas, Henson outlined the benefits of being able to offer both fixed odds and pari-mutuel betting, and how this presents new ways of engaging with bettors.

SBC Americas: Fixed odds betting has now been locked in for New Jersey. How did this  come about?

JH: BetMakers’ interest in the US market pre-dates the successful repeal of PASPA but the wave of recent sports betting legalisation in the US, and the clear appetite for fixed odds sports betting across even non-gaming states, offered an opportune moment to aggressively pursue fixed odds betting on horseracing.  

We at BetMakers know that fixed odds betting and pari-mutuel (or tote) betting are complementary products and that in other markets such as Australia, the introduction of fixed odds betting on racing alongside pari-mutuel has generated positive revenue outcomes. 

We believe that the legalisation of fixed odds betting on racing in New Jersey, a state known for innovation in gaming, will ultimately trigger fixed odds legalisation in other states, presenting the first truly game-changing opportunity the industry has seen for many years. 

SBC Americas: Can you outline some of the key benefits that the introduction of fixed odds betting will bring for the industry?

JH: The introduction of fixed odds as a complementary product allows the racing industry to tap a new revenue stream and get their product in front of a broader audience. Unlike other forms of gaming that have no organic connection to the sport, fixed odds betting leverages the significant investments the industry has made in racing. As a result, all industry stakeholders – including horsemen, operators, regulators and consumers – benefit from the increased interest in the sport and the positive revenue outcomes it can drive. 

Offering both tote and fixed odds betting gives racing fans new options and alternative pricing models that allow them to diversify their betting within the sport of racing.  

It also helps attract new fans, in part because strong consumer interest in sports betting in the US, combined with the broad worldwide availability of racing and its extensive daily schedule of events, positions racing as a compelling alternative to other betting sports. 

Finally, betting operators and racing authorities in fixed odds markets have access to monitoring and reporting tools that help ensure transparency and integrity. Bringing these tools to the tote betting market offers regulators, consumers and other stakeholders the means to build and sustain trust in the industry’s products.

SBC Americas: Do you think it can co-exist with pari-mutuel betting?

JH: Absolutely. BetMakers view fixed odds and tote betting products as complementary and our recent acquisition of one of the world’s leading pari-mutuel technology providers is testament to that belief.

Licensed operators will be able to offer both tote and fixed odds betting through integrated systems, drawing upon BetMakers’ fixed odds and tote solutions, extensive coverage, and entrenched operations to implement effective programs. 

Consumers will enjoy a seamless presentation of both products across betting terminals and digital platforms, creating a rich and engaging experience in handicapping, betting on and watching races.

While tote provides a choice for consumers in win and place/show betting, it caters for a huge audience of bettors on exotics such as trifectas, where smaller outlays can return big payouts. It’s estimated that exotics account for about 70% of tote betting in the US. With options for both, bettors can mix in fixed odds alternatives for win and place/show bets while also betting on popular exotic pari-mutuel pools. 

Many fixed odds punters in Australia, for example, play the exotics on the tote, making bet types such as trifectas, quinella, exactas, quadrellas, trios etc very popular.

While offering new betting products to their consumers, operators will also find new markets for their racing products in the rapidly evolving global wagering marketplace.

From a regulatory perspective, fixed odds betting can sit alongside tote within the current oversight framework, supported with integrity and reporting tools from BetMakers. 

SBC Americas: And finally, how can BetMakers’ technology assist both operators and regulators in the successful roll out of fixed odds betting?

JH: Having completed the acquisition of our new Global Tote division, BetMakers is uniquely qualified to bring a new unified model to racing.  

BetMakers is now the leading technology provider of everything the licensed operator needs to offer a seamless, integrated horse racing betting experience. This includes our tote services, retail terminals, digital platforms, and race day controls, as well as our fixed odds systems, data and trading solutions, and integrity and reporting systems. 

Our data, technology and trading solutions ideally position BetMakers to lead the transformation of the US racing landscape through innovation and investment. We are integrating our new Global Tote platforms into our existing enterprise platforms to offer US clients the broad range of data, content and betting feeds currently provided to BetMakers customers.  

We are also investing in new technologies for the US market, including a new bespoke terminal line and new web and mobile betting platforms.

For the emerging US market in particular, we also bring our extensive experience implementing turn-key fixed odds betting solutions for clients across the globe. We work with each partner to commission the new services, educate and inform staff and consumers, deploy terminals and online betting platforms, and implement appropriate integrity monitoring and reporting tools.