The US division of UK-listed online gambling operator Betfair will launch America’s first exchange wagering site next month.
Betfair US, now part of the Paddy Power Betfair behemoth, along with their Darby Development partners at New Jersey’s Monmouth Park racetrack, announced this week that exchange wagering would officially commence in the state on May 10.
A closed beta version of the site was made available on Monday to customers of 4NJBets, the New Jersey advance deposit wagering site run by Betfair offshoot TVG. Betfair also operates an online casino in the state in conjunction with Atlantic City’s Golden Nugget casino.
Betfair US was issued America’s first exchange wagering license last November, ending what had been a seven-year stretch of frustration and futility. Betfair US is believed to have spent upward of $10m in an unsuccessful attempt to convince racing stakeholders in other US states of the merits of exchange wagering.
Recognizing the relative unfamiliarity of the product, Betfair US has launched a simulator to educate punters on the nuances of exchange wagering. Betfair plans to charge exchange wagering customers a 12% commission on their net gains.
Betfair has yet to reveal the full list of racetracks that have agreed to provide signals to the exchange wagering site in time for its launch. Daily Racing Form reported that The Stronach Group had renegotiated its deal with TVG to specifically prohibit exchange wagering on races at its tracks. Other major operators, including Churchill Downs Inc and the New York Racing Association, have yet to commit to participating in exchange wagering.
Betfair US CEO Kip Levin acknowledged the initial reluctance of many operators to take the exchange wagering plunge, saying “everyone is watching with a wary eye right now.” However, Levin suggested resistance would decrease “if the data show that we are adding incremental revenue.”
Darby Development president Dennis Drazin said the site would be “a net positive for our industry” because of exchange wagering’s demonstrated capacity to “attract new participants, new customers and new revenue streams.”