With less than a month to go until the 148th running of the Kentucky Derby on May 7 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, New Jersey’s own Monmouth Park is getting ready to debut a new approach — fixed odds wagering — to New Jersey betting and thoroughbred racing.
Working in conjunction with Australian-based BetMakers Technology Group, Monmouth Park will be the first racetrack in the country to offer fixed odds wagering — a popular bet in Europe and Australia — after Governor Phil Murphy (D) signed legislation last August.
The New Jersey Assembly passed bill A4909 last June.
“We are all on target for day one of the Monmouth live meet on May 7,” said Dallas Baker, head of international operations for BetMakers Technology Group, the company that will manage and operate fixed odds wagering, in a call to TopNJCasinos.com last Friday. “This will coincide with delivering $2 million in field screens and over 100 brand-new teller machines.”
The state’s Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE) and Racing Commission (NJRC) must give the green light on regulatory approvals before launch, but Baker said that is imminent.
What Is Fixed Odds Wagering?
Fixed odds wagering allows bettors to retain the odds at the time of their bet, as opposed to pari-mutuel wagering, where odds are not finalized until betting is completed.
When implemented, fixed odds will be offered on win, place and show betting from the outset at Monmouth, with a minimum wager of $1. Designated fixed odds windows will be throughout Monmouth’s grandstand and clubhouse, with televisions displaying current odds.
The track also will show the fixed odds for each race during the track’s in-house televised feed of races.
“Bettors and fans will see a new main screen in the track’s infield, which is about four times the size of the old one and is 30-50 feet closer to the fans,” Baker said. “The massive screen will be bookended by fixed odds, betting info and the tote board. Anywhere in grandstand and even in the picnic area, you will have a great view in finite detail.
“Everything is working to plan, but as you could imagine, the plan still has many moving parts to it, so while we are nowhere near to being able to relax, we are confident that we’ll get there with all three key things.
“The final piece of the regulatory process is being finalized, which will be the entry point for operators to be approved for fixed odds betting. As far as the systems go at Monmouth, with the exception of a couple of minor things to complete and finalize, meaning a million percent sure on final testing, we are essentially ready to take bets now.”
Fixed odds wagering will begin with Monmouth Park races, with the expectation that it will expand to other tracks that enter into an agreement to permit it on their races.
“We don’t expect any miracles here right from the get go,” Baker said. “Our first goal is to strike the first bet as a company here, get it started and every week building upon it.”
Two More Sunday Dates Added
Monmouth Park announced last Wednesday two more live racing dates for handicappers and bettors to bet on in the Garden State.
Opening its 77th live season May 7, Monmouth Park has added two live racing dates on Sundays in September to extend the 2022 meet to 62 days, following approval from the NJRC.
Sept. 11 and Sept. 18 — the new closing day — are the added live dates, with stakes races highlighting both cards. The $85,000 Pinot Grigio Stakes will headline the Sept. 11 card, with the $85,000 Joey P. Stakes set for Sept. 18. Both are for New Jersey-breds at five furlongs on the turf.
Monmouth Park’s live meet gets under way on the first Saturday in May with an eight-race card as the prelude to the Kentucky Derby that evening. First race post time for the card is at 2 p.m.
Monmouth also expanded its 2021 schedule in July and increased purses.
Following opening day, Monmouth Park will go to a 12:15 p.m. first race post time on weekends and holidays and when the live racing schedule expands in July and August. The track’s first race post time on Fridays and Mondays will be 2 p.m.
A total of 50 stakes, highlighted by 10 graded events worth $8.135 million, will highlight the meet, topped by the Grade 1, $1 million Haskell Stakes on July 23.
Several stakes will see a big boost in purses this summer, including the Grade 1 United Nations, which goes from $500,000 to $600,000; the Grade 3 Monmouth Cup (from $300,000 to $400,000); the Grade 3 Molly Pitcher (from $250,000 to $400,000) and the Grade 3 Matchmaker (from $150,000 to $200,000). All of those races, as well as the $100,000 Wolf Hill Stakes, will be on the Haskell Day undercard.
Haskell Preview Day on June 23 will feature four stakes: the Pegasus, the Grade 3 Monmouth Stakes, the Grade 3 Salvator Mile and the Grade 3 Eatontown Stakes.
Following the conclusion of the Monmouth Park meet on Sept. 18, live thoroughbred racing in New Jersey will shift north to the Meadowlands in East Rutherford for nine all-turf cards, starting Friday, Sept. 23. That meet will run through Oct. 22.