After the Monmouth Park thoroughbred racetrack along the New Jersey Shore in 2022 offered fixed odds – “the price you bet is the price you get,” is the unofficial motto – only for races at its track and only on-site, horse players will have more options this summer.
The track has partnered with a dozen other race sites – six of them in North America – whose races will be available as fixed-odds plays. The tracks are Tampa Bay Downs, Canterbury Park, Delaware Park, Hawthorne Race Course, Emerald Downs, and Century Mile.
The “Monmouth-at-Meadowlands Meet” on the turf at that track in September also will feature fixed odds on those thoroughbred races.
Not only that, Australia-based BetMakers, which sets the fixed odds, has launched a MonmouthBet app and website (MonmouthBet.com) which allows gamblers all over the state to wager on those races. Track officials hope to add more tracks during the Monmouth meet, possibly even including New York Racing Association tracks.
During Saturday’s Opening Day at the Oceanport site, fixed odds prices turned out to be the “better bet” for horse players on all but one out of 10 races.
Going Beyond Parimutuel
The traditional parimutuel system, in which gamblers essentially bet against each other while “the house” takes a specific percentage of the total amount wagered, is at odds with how bettors on other sports gamble.
That is, a horse racing fan who bets big on a horse at 10-to-1 – only to find out just as the race starts that some “late money” dropped the odds all the way down to 5-to-1 – winds up disappointed at the turn of events.
The long-term goal of U.S. sportsbooks is to link horse racing to its already-existing options.
“I believe that the future of gaming in the U.S. is an ability to wager 24-7 on sporting events and horse racing,” said Drazin, referring to worldwide availability of races taking place across the world in numerous time zones.
“That will translate to high purses, more days for racing, and more opportunities for breeders.”
But younger sports bettors who have just gotten involved in the past five years since the gambling has spread to dozens of states might be put off by the parimutuel system. That’s where fixed odds would come in.
BetMakers commissioned a survey showing that 83% of U.S. horse players who participated in the pool said they would be eager to have a fixed odds option alongside independent parimutuel odds. The survey also showed that about two-thirds of American sports bettors said they would be more likely to add horse racing to their wagering choices under such a scenario.
Many Fear Innovation
Many horse racing leaders are wary of fixed odds, fearing that it would cannibalize its parimutuel pools. Drazin said that is why he and BetMakers so far are only offering win, place, and show fixed odds wagers – which make up a minority of the total amount bet due to the popularity of multi-factor bets from daily doubles to trifectas to Pick-6s.
“Just like with sports betting, if everybody decides to stick their head in the sand, things will never change,” said Drazin, an attorney whose horsemen had legal standing during the six-year court battle that led to legal victory at the U.S. Supreme Court in 2018 – and to the subsequent massive national expansion of legal sports betting.
“Somebody’s got to be the guy who’s willing to take the risk,” Drazin added. “Maybe I’m right, maybe I’m wrong. But what I’m willing to do is take those risks – and I don’t just do it casually. I study it, I consider what might happen, and I try to talk to the right people.”
Drazin said that in about 70 percent of races in 2022, the fixed odds numbers proved to be more favorable for bettors than the pari-mutuel numbers.
A number of officials from racetracks across the U.S. have contacted him with questions about the details of fixed odds wagering, Drazin said – a sign that the new gambling format may expand much further.
The 78th season of racing at Monmouth Park will be highlighted by the Haskell Stakes, sponsored by TVG.com, on Saturday, July 22. General admission each day is $6 (free for children age 12 and under) and parking is free. The other new wrinkle for Monmouth Park will debut in 2024.
The track already has a sportsbook that had been run by the U.S. subdivision of the William Hill British bookmaking company, and the subsequent Caesars Entertainment purchase of that company will lead by the end of this summer, Drazin believes, to a groundbreaking for a new sportsbook located near the valet parking area.