Fixed Odds. Free Data. Horse Racing Industry weighs changes to compete with sports gambling

The sport has a long tradition of pari-mutuel wagering where the odds fluctuate and nothing is set until the horses leave the starting gate. But with the legalization of sports gambling in the United States and its gradually expanding implementation around the country, adding fixed-odds wagering could be a way for the horse racing to adapt and compete in the changing landscape.

“When we had a monopoly, we certainly benefited from that, but it made us very lazy and it’s time to get moving,” said Craig Bernick of the Thoroughbred Idea Foundation that recently raised the possibility of adding fixed-odds betting in horse racing. “If we don’t adjust, I personally think sports betting has a very good chance to destroy most of the horse racing gambling because the price, the familiarity that everyday people have with those sports that they grew up with, the free access to data and the type of bets allowed all favor sports betting over horse racing. We really need to innovate.”

Rich Nilsen’s article about FREE horse racing data

This isn’t the first time horse racing has needed to fend off challenges to its longstanding betting monopoly. There was the addition of lotteries across the United States, then came the proliferation of casino gambling that in some states partially funded horse racing and gave a boost to a fading business model.

The impact of legalized sports betting seems to be heading in the opposite direction.

Even though places like New Jersey’s Monmouth Park have championed the cause and embraced it, it’s not expected to be a financial windfall for horse racing.