JC / Railbird


“Whole new, fun world”

First impressions of the Betfair New Jersey exchange wagering platform:

The one thing that is striking to me is that I’m more engaged in betting throughout the entire process of activity in a race when liquidity begins to show up. So when trades begin in a race, I’m keeping my eye on that activity throughout the entire process. Because this is fixed odds wagering, there are opportunities to “middle” out of positions and lock up small profits in these fluctuations, if that’s your thing. This is way different than waiting 30 minutes between races to see when the real late money comes in to react. The exchange allows you be engaged in a race at any time, real action *way* before the race. The other side of this is that you can just name your price well ahead of time and just leave it there to be matched.

The exchange opens on Tuesday. Disclosure — I’m freelancing with the agency handling marketing and public relations for the company’s U.S. exchange launch. But if you’re a New Jersey bettor and you’re interested in the platform, then reading this player’s post about his beta experience is worth your time.

5/16/16 Addendum: More early players’ impressions are linked here.

Wednesday Notes

From a Brown Daily Herald profile of Jaimy Gordon, author of “Lord of Misrule,” the racetrack novel awarded the 2010 National Book Award for fiction:

Due to an editing error, an earlier version of this article incorrectly described members of Jaimy Gordon’s MA’72 DA’75 family as “horse riders.” In fact, Gordon said her relatives were “horseplayers.” The Herald regrets the error.

Love that “horseplayers” also warrants a definition within the article.

Take the correction above as a sign that Betfair has its work cut out for it educating the younger set in the US market? A Bloomberg article published today on how the British-based company is gearing up for exchange wagering in California through its American foothold, TVG, notes the generational divide when it comes to horseplayers in the states versus exchange bettors elsewhere: “About 80 percent of TVG’s customer base is over the age of 50, while 80 percent of Betfair’s users are under 50.” As CEO David Yu has acknowledged, “A lot of Americans don’t realise they can bet online legally through something like TVG,” or that the legal something is horse racing …

In an attempt to attract more international wagering, starting gate numbers could be reversed so that stall one is nearest the inside fence at right-handed British tracks, reports the Guardian. There is a potential downside: “It could, however, lead to initial confusion among domestic punters long used to the status quo, particularly with regard to the more renowned draw biases.” Sharp bettors, at home or abroad, will see that as an upside.

A Fresh Perspective

Betfair USA president Gerard Cunningham, in an interview with DRF reporter Matt Hegarty, responding to a question about shifting wagering dollars and what TVG can do to attract new revenue and new fans:

I do want to comment on this idea of cannibalization, that online wagering has damaged handle at the racetrack. I actually don’t accept that premise. If I go back 10 years ago, before there was online wagering, and I move forward through the period, imagining that there was no Internet wagering on horse racing, then horse racing would still be competing against all of these other sports that are bringing in many, many more interactive entertainment experiences, and it would be competing with the sports that have remade their venues into very pleasant facilities, and with a whole new set of Internet wagering competitors, like online poker, which is a much cheaper bet than online horse racing, and you would have had this major change in the economy, in which we are all working a lot harder than we were a decade ago, where none of us have jobs for life anymore, and we do not have time to go to the track during the week. So if we didn’t have Internet wagering, the industry would be in much worse shape today. Internet account wagering has helped keep the wealthier, white-collar professional who has a busy job engaged with the sport during the week, and allowed him to participate in the sport as a bettor.

Links for 2009-07-17