A New Jersey Assembly committee released a bill June 17 that would allow exchange betting on horse racing.
The measure approved by the Regulatory Oversight and Gaming Committee would put the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority in charge of establishing a betting exchange allowing bettors to wager against each other on the outcome of races. The exchange would match the bettors and see that the winner was paid.
Republican Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande, one of the sponsors, said exchange wagering can make racing more interesting for fans as well as generate additional revenue to support New Jersey’s horse racing industry. Democratic Assemblywoman Connie Wagner, co-sponsor of the legislation, said the addition of an exchange might “attract a younger age group to the sport.”
Exchange wagering isn’t offered in the United States. It is popular in Great Britain and Australia.
Betfair, owner of the TVG horse racing network in the U.S., operates the leading exchange in Great Britain. U.S. racing officials have had mixed reactions to exchange wagering because it currently returns a much smaller percentage of revenue to racing than does pari-mutuel wagering.
There were no opponents to the bill at the hearing. Donald Weinbaum, director of the New Jersey Council on Compulsive Gambling, asked the panel to consider provisions for a voluntary exclusion program for residents who are self-identified “problem gamblers.”
The bill requires votes by the full Assembly and Senate. A floor vote is expected June 21, Wagner said, pending amendments that clarify how revenue would be split.
New Jersey has an advance deposit wagering system for horse racing that can be used only by residents of the state.