Horse Race Betting in the 21st Century: Some Out-of-the-box Thinking

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Lee Amaitis of Cantor Fitzgerald and Christian Hellmers of Betfair called for the adoption of a North American betting exchange in front of a joint meeting of the Thoroughbred Racing Associations of North America and Harness Tracks of America

Several offshore wagering companies and exchanges already accept bets on North American racing without any money going to the North American racing industry.

Amaitis sees a betting exchange as a way to increase straight wagering and return more money to the industry, especially if the tracks and horsemen own it.

“Racing needs to control its own destiny, and an exchange in North America should be owned by the industry. The people who put on the show should own the exchange,” Amaitis said.

Hellmers would like to see Betfair operate a North American exchange, with revenues going to support the product. He added that implementing a completely industry-owned exchange would take too long and said his company is currently ready to begin a North American exchange.

“Our No. 1 priority is to get into the U.S. market right now. Betfair wants to compensate U.S. tracks based on money bet by U.S. customers. The question isn\’t about technology. The technology is there. The question is how much longer can the U.S. wait to capture dollars lost to off-shore companies,” Hellmers said