Horseracing fans in New Jersey will soon be able to give mobile wagering a standing ovation, and then sit right back down and make a bet at the tracks.
Governor Chris Christie signed legislation on Monday that will allow New Jersey racetrack customers the ability to place bets using their smartphones and tablets. The bill aims to help the state’s horse racing industry in its goal to attract a younger, tech-immersed fan base. The bill “moves our horse-wagering industry in to the 21st century,” said state Assemblyman John Burzichelli, one of the bill’s chief sponsors.
The legislation places the New Jersey Racing Commission in charge of regulations that will oversee mobile wagering operations as well as provide safeguards to prevent cheating and making sure the target audience is indeed old enough to place legal wagers.
Of the four tracks in New Jersey–the Meadowlands, Monmouth Park, Freehold and Atlantic City Race Course–Monmouth Park is the only one to commit to having mobile gambling ready and available at the start of its live racing season on May 12th. As the Atlantic City Race Course sees only six live races each year, the likelihood of this simulcast parlor to offer mobile wagers is slim, unless the track increases the number of live races it offers.
While supporters of the measure believe it will help bolster interest in the state’s horse race industry, several know it will take a bit more to really revitalize the sport and its economy. That “bit”, they believe, is sports betting, which could be a powerful attraction if it was only allowed to flourish without opposition from the NCAA and professional sports leagues.
Whether or not mobile racetrack wagering will be the “gateway drug” into mobile sports betting, online casino games, or online poker is another story entirely (and one that we hope we can publish in the not-so-distant future). For now, racetrack fans can relish the fact that they can make meaningful wagers from the comfort of their seats, as long as those seats are located on track property.