The vote, in the end, was unanimous. The New Jersey Senate voted 40-0 to move the state into uncharted US betting waters and allow fixed-odds horse race betting.
The bill had previously sailed through the Assembly with a 71-0 margin.
It has been a long fight – although the bill was only finally submitted last November – and it means that punters in the Garden State will now be able to bet both on fixed-odds and pari-mutuel horseracing.
One of the companies set to take advantage of the new legislation is Australian-based Betmakers Technology Group which back in February 23020 announced an exclusive 10-year agreement with the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen Association (NJTHA) and Darby Development, the operator of Monmouth Park racetrack to deliver and manage fixed-odds horseracing into New Jersey.
The deal also gives Betmakers exclusive distribution of Monmouth Park racing content throughout other parts of the US and internationally.
CEO at Betmakers Todd Buckingham was obviously pleased with the developments given his company’s position in the vanguard for horseracing betting.
“We are pleased that the bill, after minor amendments, has now passed full votes on the floor of the Senate and General Assembly in New Jersey,” he said. “The legislative process has been thorough and exhaustive in terms of our consultative approach with lawmakers and stakeholders in the New Jersey racing industry.”
“We have done this with a view to setting the right legal and commercial framework for introducing fixed odds betting into the US through New Jersey.
Buckingham added that there was now a wider base of support behind horserace betting gaining the regulatory nod in other states.
Betmakers has had a month. Last week, it bought out the technology platform asset of racing data company Form Cruncher and the technology and IP from Swopstakes.
That came after it completed the acquisition of the Sportech racing pools and tote business previously announced in December last year.
The company has also made an audacious bid to buy up the betting arm of Tabcorp in a deal that runs into the billions.
All about the timing
With Colorado, the hope of the proponents is that any move will only need an adjustment to the current regulation rather than a specific piece of legislation.
The passing of the bill at this point will provide an extra boost to Monmouth Park which is gearing up for the beginning of its racing season in July. This will include the next running of the Grade 1 Haskell Stakes on 17 July, suggested Dennis Drazin, CEO, and chairman of Darby Development.
“This is an exciting new wagering opportunity for our fans, and we’re grateful for the support from our legislators and Governor Murphy, who continue to ensure the success of thoroughbred racing in the state,” he added.
Further developments with horserace betting generally are also taking place as competition hots up for every corner of the US betting space.
At the end of May, BetMGM announced an official partnership with the NYRA Bets, the wagering platform of the New York Racing Association.
NYRA Bets becomes BetMGM’s first horseracing partner, allowing customers to watch and wager on premier thoroughbred, harness, and quarter horse races at more than 200 tracks around the world.
NYRA Bets is available in 30 states and continues to expand its reach and customer base throughout the country.
Adam Goldblatt, CEO at BetMGM said the deal meant his company would be providing a “thrilling, interactive experience” to horseracing fans countrywide.
Meanwhile, NYRA Bets President Tony Allevato said the partnership “reflects the importance of horse racing within the rapidly evolving sports betting marketplace.”
“BetMGM has consistently led the charge to expand wagering opportunities for their customers, and we are thrilled that our horse racing content will soon be available on their platform,” he added.
View: To European betting ears, the idea that fixed-odds horseracing wasn’t already on offer in New Jersey or anywhere else in the US where regulated sports betting is now allowed sounds somewhat anomalous. Now New Jersey has moved to rectify the admission, it can be presumed that other states will soon move in line.
However, whether that will make horseracing betting anything more than a minor betting sport is more debatable. While the comments from the CEO at NYRA Bets should be noted about the importance of horseracing within the evolving betting landscape in the US, this might be overstating the case. As a betting medium, horseracing is in a secular decline in most markets and suffering from a demographic deficit. It’s hard to think the US states are in anything like a different place in this regard.
Scott Longley has been a journalist since the early noughties covering personal finance, sport, and the gambling industry. He has worked for a number of publications including Investor’s Week, Bloomberg Money, Football First, EGR, and GamblingCompliance.com. He now writes for online and print titles across a wide range of sectors.