While the eyes of the horse racing world will be on Churchill Downs Saturday for the Kentucky Derby, the biggest development for the sport may actually take place some 650 miles east of Louisville at Monmouth Park.
The New Jersey track will open its 2022 season on Saturday, and with that, it will offer be the first US track fixed-odds wagering. It’ll be the culmination of more than two years of work between Monmouth Park and Australian-based BetMakers Technology Group.
BetMakers Founder and CEO Todd Buckingham told Casino.org Friday that it’s “been a huge undertaking to get to” Saturday’s launch.
We truly believe this will be a gamechanger for thoroughbred racing not only in New Jersey but in all of the US,” he said.
Unlike pari-mutuel wagering, where the odds change based on the amount of money bet on a horse, when someone bets using fixed odds, they’ll get the odds that were posted at the time they made the wager.
One of the more frustrating aspects of pari-mutuel wagering has been seeing your horse enter the starting gate at certain odds, only to see them change – sometimes drastically – after the race starts because of the late money added to the pools.
While BetMakers and Monmouth have been working on this for a couple of years, it took a bill passed by the New Jersey Legislature last year to establish a regulatory framework to allow tracks to take fixed-odds wagers.
Basics for Now, More to Come
For now, fixed-odds wagering will just be available at Monmouth Park for its races only. It will not be available for the Kentucky Derby on Saturday.
Buckingham said that wagering will start with just standard bets – win, place, and show. However, he expects “same-race parlays” – what would likely be the equivalent of parimutuel exotics – to become available in the near future.
Within the next week, Buckingham said Monmouth will offer fixed-odds options for races at out-of-state tracks. There are already about 10 tracks that have agreements in place.
“We will also be introducing international racing in the very near future,” he said.
Dennis Drazin, chairman and CEO of Monmouth operator Darby Development, told Casino.org earlier this week that online fixed-odds wagering will be available in the near future.
We believe this is just the start of what will be an extremely popular wager,” Drazin said in a statement. “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.”
Monmouth will have two wagering areas designated to accept fixed-odds bets. Parimutuel wagering will continue to be offered as well.
A minimum fixed-odds wager will be $1. Technically, there will not be a maximum bet amount, but any bet that would generate a profit of more than $5,000 for a win or $2,000 for a place or show bet may be subject to approval by BetMakers’ traders.
Monmouth Making History Again
With fixed-odds racing about to become available, proponents are hopeful the product will help racing attract a new group of bettors – specifically, people who bet on sports using online apps.
Monmouth Park helped usher in the new era of sports betting in the US. Drazin was a key driver in getting New Jersey to legalize sports betting. That action then brought about the lawsuit the NCAA and four major professional sports leagues brought against the state, and the US Supreme Court ruled on May 14, 2018 that PASPA, the federal law that restricted several states from offering sports betting, was unconstitutional.
Three years and 51 weeks later, Monmouth Park stands ready to make history again.
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