Fixed-odds wagering on horse races in New Jersey figures to soon be a reality after the state’s Senate and General Assembly each unanimously passed a bill June 21 allowing such wagers.
The legislation is now scheduled to go to New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, a Democrat.
While racing in the United States has relied on pari-mutuel wagering, in which betting on each horse or entry is collected in a pool with bet totals on each horse or entry used to determine odds and payoffs after which a percentage is taken off the top to fund tracks and purses, fixed-odds wagering sees a bookmaker offer odds on each horse or entry locked-in at that price when a patron purchases a ticket.
The New Jersey legislation will allow for fixed-odds wagering at tracks and simulcast outlets. It also will allow New Jersey residents to conduct fixed-odds account wagering when they’re in the state or in another state that allows such wagering.
The legislation requires fixed-odds wagering revenues to be shared with horsemen (through purses). Horsemen’s groups’ approval will be required for the operator.
Australia-based BetMakers Technology Group previously announced a 10-year agreement through the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association and Monmouth Park operator Darby Development authorizing it to offer fixed-odds wagering in New Jersey, pending passage of the legislation. BetMakers applauded New Jersey lawmakers for advancing the legislation, which was identical in the Senate version, approved 40-0, and in the General Assembly bill, which passed 71-0.
“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,” said BetMakers CEO Todd Buckingham. “The legislative process has been thorough and exhaustive in terms of our consultative approach with lawmakers and stakeholders in the New Jersey racing industry.”
Supporters have previously noted that they hope to have fixed-odds wagering in place for this year’s Haskell Stakes Day July 17 at Monmouth.
Buckingham speculated that as U.S. racing sees fixed-odds wagering work in New Jersey, other jurisdictions will soon come on board.
“We have done this with a view to setting the right legal and commercial framework for introducing fixed-odds betting into the U.S. through New Jersey,” Buckingham said. “We feel the support for fixed odds as a solution to facilitate growth in the horse racing industry in the U.S. gaining momentum throughout the industry. We are excited about what this opportunity means for the racing industry in New Jersey and more broadly in the U.S. We are also excited about what it enables for BetMakers as a company, and our shareholders.”
This bill authorizes fixed-odds wagering on horse races and provides that the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement may issue a license to the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority to establish a system.