Skip to main content

Betfair to bid for leading US racetrack Monmouth Park

News surfaced late last week that the state of New Jersey wish to sell off Monmouth Park thoroughbred track and Meadowlands harness track to help fix the state's ailing finances. One of the names mentioned as a potential bidder has been Betfair.

Betfair interested in purchasing Monmouth Park

Betfair, a popular exchange wagering company in England who also owns Television Games Network, is reportedly interested in purchasing Monmouth Park.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said three weeks ago that state officials would request proposals for the sale of Monmouth, along with rights to operating off-track betting.



It's an interesting scenario. New Jersey is one of the two (along with California) states that have passed legislation to allow exchange betting in the near future, but there are still numerous battles to fight before that goes ahead - namely the legitimacy/morality of laying and the return to the horsemen's groups (i.e. prizemoney)... and that's before they fight the battle of teaching Americans how to set odds and take bets, rather than just bet blindly into a pool or take fixed-odds futures bets at ridiculous margins.

If you want to read what the rank-and-file and mostly clueless think, read the comments from Ray Paulick's article. No different to the Betfair forum really :)

Take a step back and think about it. Betfair have an adaptable business model now - they offer tote betting, SP betting, fixed-odds betting (sportsbook to Italy), multiples betting and pure exchange betting because in their most popular regions, they face stiff competition. In the US, they don't. If they are granted an exchange betting licence, all they have to compete with are totes, and the govts and racing bodies will want a piece of the pie, no matter how small it usually is.

BUT - Betfair don't have to run an exchange if they acquire Monmouth Park. There's far more money in tote betting if they can get it to work. There's no competition with bookies or rival totes, just a monopoly. Find the balance between the healthy margin and an attractive offer for bettors. And US horse bettors are getting stiffed with very fat margins giving a cut to everyone but the bettor who ultimately funds the industry.

In Tasmania, they led their bid for an exchange with a massive lump of cash to guarantee the state's racing wasn't decimated. A similar offer here could see them continue with pari-mutuel betting, but at much more punter-friendly rates. Win-place-show takeouts of 17% could be slashed to something more suited to smaller US fields, 9 or 10%, in order to generate substantially higher turnover. The winning bidder would control the off-track betting in New Jersey and be able to reinvigorate it. Betfair & TVG's marketing budget could boost the purses of the big races and bring in stronger fields, strengthening New Jersey racing while other states continue to suffer from their lack of creativity.

Then two options remain - (1) New Jersey decides it loves Betfair and grants Betfair exclusive rights to online sports betting in the state, or (2) Betfair decides the margin it is making on Monmouth Park pari-mutuel betting is so healthy that they want to buy other tracks.

US racing could do a lot worse than have Betfair take over Monmouth Park. So many tracks are now on life support, with plenty only surviving via the cancerous slot machines. Continue down the slide to oblivion, or try something different which might just turn it around?

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

lay the field - my favourite racing strategy

Dabbling with laying the field in-running at various prices today, not just one price, but several in the same race. Got several matched in the previous race at Brighton, then this race came along at Nottingham. Such a long straight at Nottingham makes punters often over-react and think the finish line is closer than it actually is. As you can see by the number of bets matched, there was plenty of volatility in this in-play market. It's rare you'll get a complete wipe-out with one horse getting matched at all levels, but it can happen, so don't give yourself too much risk...

Gimcrack Stakes preview

The final day of the Ebor Festival has a great spread of races, and just one of them could be described as having a clear-cut favourite. A solid reward for anyone who can find a winner.

The 2yo feature of the day is the Gimcrack Stakes, and saddling up again for the preview is Darren Goodbody, @DarrenPGoodbody. You can read more of his work here.

----------------------

Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Gimcrack Stakes
Group 2, 6f, 2yo C&G
£220,000
1510 local 0010 AEST


What a week it has been on the Knavesmire, some impressive juveniles to keep on the note book especially Tasleet of William Haggas's and Wesley Ward's Acapulco who impressed me taking on older horses, but even though with the 29lb allowance he could not over come proven Group 3 winning sprinter Mecca's Angel.

Mark Johnston has not improved on his six percent average here at York and I have reservations that it is going to improve with Buratino or Ode the Evening. The Listed Woodcote Stakes and Group 3 Coven…

Villiers Stakes preview

The highlight of summer racing in Sydney is the Villiers Stakes. Tasked with the preview is Mitch Fenton.

-------------------

Villiers StakesRandwick, G2, 1600m
1615 local time, 0515 GMT

Form link

Website
Twitter: @weekndkngracing
Facebook: /weekendking


The most reliable guide to the Gr2 Villiers has always been the Festival Stakes.

I’m going to stick with that form line; here’s the horses who ran in the Festival, running today.

1 I'm Imposing (55.5) 20-1
2 [0.1] Estonian Princess (54) 7-1
3 [0.3] Strawberry Boy (57.5) 6-1
5 [1.7] Sir Moments (56) 11-2
6 [2.5] Multilateral (54) 60-1
7 [3.8] Scream Machine (56) 20-1
8 [4.3] Aomen (58.5) 30-1
11 [6.8] Monton (60) 16-1
12 [8.0] Keep Cool (54) 80-1

Out of all those runs in the Festival, Strawberry Boy was a clear top pick for mine.

He worked very hard out in front with his 1500m to 600m times and was 3L quicker than the average. He was entitled to drop out of the race but instead he fought on dogged…