Australian sports betting data and services provider BetMakers has secured an exclusive 10-year agreement to distribute fixed odds horse racing betting data and other content in New Jersey and beyond.
A BetMakers press release explains BetMakers has reached agreements with the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association and Darby Development (operator of Monmouth Park Racetrack) to deliver fixed-odds horse racing data to New Jersey sports betting operators and to distribute Monmouth Park racing content across the US and internationally.
In a statement, Monmouth Park CEO Dennis Drazin said this:
We have been instrumental in the roll out of sports betting into the US and now we will be the driver of Fixed Odds horse racing in New Jersey and hopefully throughout the U.S. We selected BetMakers as our partner in delivering this concept due to their extensive knowledge and understanding of what is required to make this a success.
Our focus at Monmouth Park is ensuring we get the best return for our product and I believe this deal with the team at BetMakers, given their wagering, compliance and technology capabilities, provides us with a solution that can deliver a successful venture.
Dennis Drazin also revealed to DRF that such a deal basically became a necessity after several sportsbooks offered fixed-odds wagers on NJ horse races last year without permission from the host tracks.
“It became obvious to me that this was going to be an issue in the future,” he told DRF. “So it was best to get a deal done.”
What the Deal Entails
The agreement makes BetMakers the exclusive distributor of fixed odds horse racing data and content originating from New Jersey racetracks. BetMakers says it will now turn its attention to working with licensed NJ sportsbooks that would like to offer fixed-odds horse racing betting to their customers.
Additionally, BetMakers will aim to strike agreements with other racetracks in the US and abroad to deliver racing data and content to licensed sportsbooks. Racetracks that wish to access the US market in New Jersey will now work exclusively with BetMakers to open their races to NJ sportsbooks.
According to BetMakers, sportsbooks that wish to offer fixed-odds horse racing betting will have to agree to terms that include paying a portion of their betting handle to racetracks contracted with BetMakers.
BetMakers has also secured the exclusive right to distribute Monmouth Park racing content to other US and international jurisdictions.
Monmouth Park will also open its tote pools to international betting sites, which should increase betting handle on Monmouth Park races.
Fixed Odds Betting vs. Parimutuel Wagering
Fixed odds horse racing allows customers to lock in prices prior to the start of the race. This is the same format used for betting on most other sports in the US; the sportsbook posts a line and customers decide whether or not to take that bet.
Parimutuel wagering is the default format traditionally used in horse racing and differs from fixed-odds betting in that prices are not set in stone. Rather, all wagers are pooled and the odds are determined by the action taken on each horse. Parimutuel betting odds therefore remain in a state of flux right up until the last wager has been taken just prior to the start of the race.
Fixed odds horse racing betting is not entirely new to the US market, but it is definitely uncommon. Established US-licensed horse racing betting sites offer parimutuel wagering exclusively through agreements reached with tracks around the country.
DraftKings NJ experimented with fixed-odds racing betting last year and later reported that it was well-received. However, BetMakers is set to establish a long-term precedent as it launches the Global Racing Network to provide “a uniformed set of standard conditions for both racing bodies and bookmakers to allow clarity of reporting and distribution of data and content.”
Will Fixed-Odds Racing Betting Work in the US?
Horse racing consultant Michele Fischer made the case for fixed-odds betting at the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association convention last year.
She pointed to Australia as an example of fixed-odds betting done right, noting that fixed-odds betting handle on Australian races doubled from 2012 to 2017 and contributed to a 24% increase in Australian purses.
However, there are caveats. Fischer noted that the success of fixed-odds betting is “predicated on the economic model between the racetracks, racing authorities, and the authorities.”
Accordingly, Fischer noted fixed-odds racing is not working for horse racing in the UK – and it comes down to the agreements in place. Fischer also said tracks and horsemen need to understand that a much smaller takeout is needed to make fixed-odds racing betting attractive, but also that tracks need to ensure they get a big enough piece of the action to make it worthwhile.
She said the right balance seems to have been struck in Australia, where the racing industry collects anywhere from 2.5% to 4% of betting handle depending on the quality of the race. BetMakers has not revealed such specifics regarding its deal with Monmouth Park, but it is worth remembering BetMakers hails from Australia and is likely intimately familiar with the underpinnings of the Australian racing industry.
BetMakers CEO Todd Buckingham stated as much in a quote included with this week’s press release:
We have been working with racing bodies and bookmakers from all parts of the world to develop the best solution that fits into the horse racing ecosystem. We believe that U.S. horse racing has the potential to be the largest betting sport in the US, including basketball, American football and baseball. There is a real opportunity for the U.S. horse racing market to grow like it has in Australia, which has seen prizemoney levels double over the past 7-10 years based on a funding model that is equitable to all participants.