A bill that seeks to legalize fixed-odds horse racing betting in New Jersey is now on Governor Murphy’s desk. [Image: Shutterstock.com]
Strong support for the bill
A bill that aims to legalize fixed-odds betting in New Jersey for horse races has gotten approval from the state legislature. The New Jersey Senate voted 40-0 in favor of passing this legislation on Monday. The Assembly then voted 71-0 in favor of the final bill. It now goes to Governor Phil Murphy’s desk for consideration.
Assembly Bill 4909 (AB 4909) would allow the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, with help from the New Jersey Racing Commission, to create a regulatory framework for fixed-odds betting within 90 days of the effective date of the legislation.
the bill will go into immediate effect if Governor Murphy signs it
The state’s lawmakers gave the bill the green light along with an emergency clause, which means that the bill will go into immediate effect if Governor Murphy signs it. Those in favor of the bill hope that the creation of the regulatory framework will be a seamless process. Last month, Darby Development CEO Dennis Drazin said that he hoped regulations for fixed-odds betting would be in place in time for the Grade 1 Haskell Stakes, the flagship event at Darby Development-owned Monmouth Park, scheduled for July 17.
A new type of system
A pari-mutuel betting system is currently the main way that people in the United States place bets on horse races. This means that the odds for a given horse are not set in stone until the race itself starts. Therefore, odds can drop sharply after someone has placed a bet on a horse. Through a fixed-odds system, a bettor will be able to lock in the odds for a given horse as soon as the bet is placed. The vast majority of horse racing betting in the United States uses a pari-mutuel system; fixed-odds betting is very popular in other parts of the world.
AB 4909 would allow for fixed-odds betting both at on-track and off-track betting locations, as well as online. Sportsbooks that offer fixed-odds betting will need to contribute half of the revenue from these wagers, after expenses, to harness and thoroughbred racing purses.
BetMakers welcomes the passage
Australian betting technology company BetMakers Technology signed an exclusive deal in February 2020 with Darby Development and the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen Association. This ten-year deal will see BetMakers manage fixed-odds racing betting in the state. As part of this arrangement, BetMakers can make deals with sportsbooks and other types of licensees in New Jersey.
Speaking about the comprehensive support in the legislature for AB 4909, BetMakers CEO Todd Buckingham said: “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.”
In his statement on Tuesday, Buckingham also noted how this bill would be of major help in growing the horse racing industry in the United States. He is excited about what the future holds in both New Jersey and in other states that might also consider legalizing fixed-odds betting on horse races.