The US division of betting exchange Betfair says it’s not bothered by the slow start of its New Jersey exchange wagering site.
On May 10, Betfair US launched exchange wagering on 4NJBets, the New Jersey advance deposit wagering site run by Betfair’s TVG racing offshoot. The launch marked the first licensed exchange betting operation in the US and followed years of effort by Betfair to convince regulators and tracks to get with the program.
This week, the New Jersey Racing Commission delivered the goods on the exchange wagering site’s performance in the 13 weeks to Aug. 7. During this period, New Jersey bettors placed exchange wagers worth an average of around $150k per week (some of which was matched with Betfair’s UK customer base).
However, it seems the initial excitement over America’s first betting exchange has already worn off. Average handle over the product’s first seven weeks of operation was $163,175, 8% higher than the 13-week average.
Kip Levin, who heads up Betfair US, claimed not to be bothered by the slow start or the sequential decline, telling Daily Racing Form that the company was “very encouraged with the initial results” of its New Jersey offering.
Levin noted that the New Jersey site had a limited pool of bettors on which to draw while suggesting that exchange wagering had a higher learning curve for most race bettors when compared to traditional pari-mutuel wagering, particularly in terms of hedging.
The New Jersey site currently offers wagers on 21 US tracks, of which the Garden State’s own Monmouth Park has proven the most popular with local bettors. However, interest has been undeniably hampered by the absence of major tracks like New York’s Saratoga and California’s Del Mar, which have yet to embrace exchange wagering (and Saratoga would prefer Jersey bettors bet with their new NYRABets site, anyway).
Before being granted its New Jersey exchange wagering license last November, Betfair estimated that the company – now part of the Paddy Power Betfair behemoth – had spent upward of $10m in lobbying horse and track owners on the merits of exchange wagering.