Updated on 08/11/2016 8:44PM

Betfair's N.J. exchange wagers average $150K per week


Wagering through Betfair’s New Jersey-based exchange-wagering system that was launched this spring has averaged approximately $150,000 a week in its first three months and appears to be declining on a weekly basis, according to figures provided this week by the New Jersey Racing Commission.

Though officials of Betfair have declined to provide estimates for their expectations for the service, the numbers are certainly not overwhelming, and the decline in the running average is troubling for a new service that has been enthusiastically embraced in some foreign jurisdictions. Through the first seven weeks, the running average for weekly handle through the system was $163,175, 8 percent higher than the running average through the first 13 weeks of operation. The platform was launched May 10, and the New Jersey commission figures are through Aug. 7.

In a statement in response to questions, Betfair officials said they were not surprised or concerned about the figures, saying that exchange-wagering presents a steep learning curve for players who are accustomed to betting through the parimutuel system and who are largely unfamiliar with the hedging strategies that are available through Betfair’s platform. Betfair officials also said that because restrictions on the system limit its reach to customers in New Jersey – whose bets can nonetheless be matched by Betfair’s large stable of players in the U.K. – the average numbers can fluctuate dramatically week to week.

“We are very happy about the beta launch of exchange in the U.S.,” said Kip Levin, the chief executive of Betfair U.S., which also owns the television network and account-wagering company TVG. “It’s still very early, and given the small sample to date, we are very encouraged with the initial results.”

Exchange wagering, which was pioneered 15 years ago by Betfair in its home jurisdiction, the U.K., allows customers to post odds on horses and accept bets from other customers, akin to acting as an individual bookmaker, with additional opportunities to post and accept bets during the running of the race. The weekly average figure represents the amount of bets risked by players in New Jersey, even if those bets were matched with players in the U.K.

Levin is scheduled to speak Sunday at the Jockey Club Round Table Conference on Matters Pertaining to Racing. Levin is expected to address the launch of the exchange-wagering system, although he is also expected to address the impact of the 2015 merger of TVG and HRTV, its competitor in live television programming.

According to the New Jersey Racing Commission, Monmouth Park has been the most popular track on the site, followed by Evangeline Downs in Louisiana and Mountaineer Park in West Virginia. The New Jersey site has been offering wagering on 21 U.S. tracks, but most major racetracks, including Del Mar and Saratoga, are not offered on the service.

Some racetracks and horsemen have balked at giving approval to Betfair because of an unwillingness to come to financial terms with the company or concern over the perception that trainers or jockeys may deliberately compromise their horses’ chances in a race in order to capitalize on the ability to bet on a horse to lose on the site.

Allan Weston 6 months ago
Well I bet on njx and it excellent. Yeah get better prices, locked in odds.

It's great, not sure why the belly aching.

20k a day is a good start for something completely foreign to most American horseplayers.

Being a bookie is empowering.

Mark 6 months ago
Robert is another OLD SCHOOL player that DOES NOT understand the betting exchange. How is merely advertising the exchange called "forced feeding"? Robert is probably someone who has lost money on the exchange and is bitter about it. If he has been around so long why does he have a problem with fixed odds or Win prices that are consistently 10% to 20% Higher than the Pari-mutuel pool? Robert sir you make no sense and sound like you are another loser complaining about your gambling losses.
Robert 6 months ago
It's bad enough when you go to Monmouth and you have to endure that slop they throw at you 3 days a week.....just think of that only 3 DAYS A WEEK and that is what you get...but ON TOP of that they are trying to force feed you this ridiculousness of exchange wagering..been around this game for 45+ years, THIS is THE BIGGEST JOKE I've ever seen  Betfair...give it up, ain't happenin' and to show your stupidity, you picked the state with the most declining horse racing in the US for your "START UP"....again give it up, it's over....
David 6 months ago
Bad racing, poor liquidity and site advertising that usually tells only part of the story.  IF this was going to work, NJ & Monmouth is a poor starting point.
Anonymous 6 months ago
Without the most popular tracks on board, exchange wagering has little appeal. In addition, the cards at Monmouth this summer have been dreadful. Short fields with a heavy favorite. A recipe for disaster as far s handle is concerned.