NYRA expands reach of online betting platform, expects good racing competition in Saratoga – The Daily Gazette

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SARATOGA SPRINGS — With the COVID pandemic waning in New York City and no new restrictions on the horizon, the 2022 running competition at Saratoga Racetrack looks like a sure thing.

Beyond this season and beyond the three thoroughbred tracks it operates in New York, the New York Racing Association has added a second partner to expand the reach of its NYRA Bets online horse racing betting platform.

The sums wagered by NYRA Bets have increased every year since its inception, from $303 million in 2016 to $694 million in 2021.

Caesars Sportsbook and NYRA Bets announced their new partnership on Thursday; Caesars Racebook will debut later this spring, using the NYRA Bets platform.

Two months ago, Caesars Sportsbook has become the Official Sportsbook Marketing Partner of NYRA.

And NYRA Bets became BetMGM’s first horse racing partner in May 2021.

The partnerships with Caesars came amid New York’s debut of mobile sports betting, which does not extend to horse racing but involves the same activity – placing bets from smartphones and computers.

In the first 30 days it was legal in New York, 1.76 million sports betting accounts were created and bettors placed 187 million bets worth $2 billion.

“Ultimately, it increases the total addressable market,” NYRA President and CEO Dave O’Rourke said Monday. “The number of people engaged on this platform is huge.”

NYRA’s online expansion complements the in-person tradition at thoroughbred horse racing tracks. NYRA operates under franchise. Bets placed on races at all three tracks totaled $2.73 billion from all sources in 2021, the most on record.

Attendance at the Saratoga Racetrack topped one million in 2021 and a record $815.5 million was wagered on races there, despite limited time to prepare for competition after authorities in the State authorized it. The 2020 encounter was held without spectators as a COVID precaution.

O’Rourke said the metrics have been good so far for the 2022 season at Saratoga.

It remains to be seen what impact gas prices will have on tourism and footfall, he said, but community interest is strong and for the first time since 2019 it is possible to make any the range of preparations for the meeting and to offer a full schedule. advance ticket sales.

“I think we’re looking at another banner year in Saratoga,” O’Rourke said. “I think we are looking at a return to normal.”

While the pandemic has altered NYRA’s in-person operations in 2020, it has also boosted NYRA betting. Its biggest annual gain to date came in 2020, when the tracks were closed to spectators and 46% more money was wagered through NYRA Bets than the year before.

O’Rourke credits much of NYRA Bets’ growth to NYRA races televised nationally by FOX Sports. NYRA Bets was behind the game, he said, and to grow nationally it needed to differentiate itself from other platforms.

“Our differentiator is television.”

In commercial terms, horse racing is content while TV and online platforms are broadcast, he said. NYRA is starting from a high content baseline with the Belmont and Saratoga tracks and the more content it can deliver the better it can perform.

“The Saratoga brand is the ultimate racing brand in the United States,” he said.

NYRA Bets is available in 31 states and allows users to watch and bet on races from 250 tracks around the world.

Any online bet placed from New York on a New York race is treated financially as a bet placed at the window of the track itself, with the same advantage for horse owners. Bets placed elsewhere are less lucrative but still generate revenue in New York and at NYRA tracks, O’Rourke said.

However, the regulatory framework becomes more complicated from state to state: NYRA Bets has a single-jurisdiction New York license for New York races and a multi-jurisdiction Oregon license for races in Oregon and in the other 29 states.

A hitherto elusive industry focus is the concept of a “shared wallet”, whereby punters could use a single deposit account to place any type of bets available online, be it a baseball game or a stakes race.

This would bring NYRA Bets closer to a wider audience. (BetMGM and Caesars Sportsbook took a total of $1.2 billion in wagers in the first two months of legalizing mobile sports betting in New York.)

Technology issues like credit card transaction category codes put the shared wallet out of reach for now, O’Rourke said, but the goal remains.

“There’s a lot of behind-the-scenes work that needs to be done.”

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