May 20, 2021 Sports Betting, Legal

New Jersey committees advance fixed-odds horse racing bills

By

Fixed-odds wagering took a big leap forward in New Jersey this week as two legislative committees advanced bills that would allow Garden State racetracks to accept the form of betting on horse races.

The Tourism, Gaming and the Arts Assembly unanimously passed Bill A4909, introduced by Assemblymen Ronald Dancer (R-District 12) and Ralph Caputo (D-District 28).

S3090, an identical bill sponsored by Senators Vin Gopal (D-11th District), Paul Sarlo (D-36th District), Steven Oroho (R-24th District) and Declan O’Scanlon Jr. (R-13th District), unanimously passed Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism & Historic Preservation Committee.

The bills would next go to the Senate and General Assembly for a floor vote.

The legislation would allow bettors at New Jersey racetracks to place fixed-odds wagers on horse races, upending the United States’ tradition of pari-mutuel wagering on horses.

When a customer places a bet under fixed-odds wagering, they are locked in to that price, whereas parti-mutuel wagering allows for fluctuation of odds up until the start of a race.

Pari-mutuel wagering often leads to bettors receiving worse odds than when they placed their bet, depending on where the late money for a race is heading.

Fixed-odds is used for American sports betting but the US horse racing industry has generally shunned it in favor of pari-mutuel wagering. Fixed-odds wagering on horse races is common in Australia, New Zealand, Germany and England among other countries.

Last November the New Jersey Racing Commission approved a fixed-odds pilot program for 2021 out-of-state Grade I races.

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