For the seven weeks that exchange wagering has been in place in the state of New Jersey, Betfair US has seen promising returns, reports Joe Drape of the New York Times. According to the New Jersey Racing Commission, $1,142,228 has been bet on the exchange in the first seven weeks, a period which generally handles $2.4 million in online and telephone bets via the pari-mutuel pools.
Bart Barden, director of US Exchange (part of Betfair US) believes that the exchange wagering platform will build to draw in a new, younger demographic to bet on horse racing, citing the average age of a European exchange wagerer of 38 as compared to the average age of a TVG account holder in the US, at 52.
“It goes to the heart of what horse racing wants here: new and younger fans,” said Joe Harper, president and CEO of the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club. “Something new is not always met with open arms in the horse racing industry. That is why it is so important that exchange wagering becomes a good experience in New Jersey. It can melt away opposition.”
Though 21 tracks have approved exchange wagering to exist on their races, some major players, including Churchill Downs and the Stronach Group, have not joined the fray. Both have cited the concern that race-fixing may be a large issue if bettors are allowed to bet against a horse to win, as they are on the exchange. Betfair US has attempted to ease those concerns by entering information-sharing agreements with other sports organizations around the world.
Long-term, Betfair executives are hopeful that sports wagering will be legalized in the US outside of Nevada. Given the money it has invested into the horse racing network already, reportedly in the tens of millions of dollars, Betfair would be poised to take advantage of the sports wagering market in the US very quickly.
Read more at the New York Times.
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