Giddy Up! BetMGM And NYRA Bets Partner For Horse Race Wagering

Posted on June 4, 2021

BetMGM is grabbing the reins and steering itself into the world of horse race wagering. The online gambling platform officially named NYRA Bets its first and only horse racing partner on Friday, May 28.

Bettors in Tennessee and beyond will soon be able to view and bet on premier horse races from over 200 tracks worldwide.

BetMGM enters horse race wagering with NYRA Bets

This new addition to BetMGM’s portfolio could not have been accomplished without the backing of an established player in the horse racing industry. This is where NYRA Bets came in.

The New York Racing Association launched the brand back in 2016 as its official advance deposit wagering (ADW) platform. The brand has since expanded into 30 states and has recently found even more significant success.

Horse racing was one of the few sports still operating during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, NYRA Bets quickly gained popularity.

Now, NYRA Bets is one of the primary providers of horse racing content in the nation, the others being TVG, TwinSpires and AmWager. Along with partnering with BetMGM Sportsbook, NYRA Bets also signed a deal with FOX Sports back in March 2021.

FOX Sports entered into a broadcast agreement with the brand in exchange for a 25% ownership stake.

NYRA Bets President Tony Allevato sees the new partnership with BetMGM as another important step into the sports betting frontier.

“This is the type of partnership that reflects the importance of horse racing within the rapidly evolving sports betting marketplace. BetMGM has consistently led the charge to expand wagering opportunities for their customers, and we are thrilled that our horse racing content will soon be available on their platform.”

Similarly, BetMGM CEO Adam Greenblatt is eager for the sportsbook to journey into horse racing.

“We’ve found a great partner in NYRA Bets and look forward to working with them to create a thrilling, interactive experience for horse racing fans on BetMGM.”

Popular horse racing events

Once the project launches, users of the BetMGM horse racing app will have access to a variety of daily horse racing content, including race replays and live streaming during events. In effect, users will be able to watch and bet on horse races from the comfort of their own couch.

Top American racing events include the:

  • Kentucky Derby
  • Preakness
  • Belmont Stakes
  • Breeders’ Cup

The new partnership seeks to make wagering on international events simpler than ever as well. The most popular of those events being the:

  • Royal Ascot meet
  • Melbourne Cup
  • Dubai World Cup
  • Saudi Cup

Wagering on horse races in Tennessee

As of now, TwinSpires Tennessee is the only horse race wagering platform available in the state.

TVG suspended action back in October as its parent company FanDuel prepared to enter Tennessee’s sports betting market. It has yet to open back up to the state.

Pari-mutuel (or horse race) wagering exists in a legal gray area in Tennessee. Technically, it is neither legal nor illegal.

The Racing Control Act was created in 1987 but was subsequently repealed in 2015 after years with no Tennessee State Racing Commission in operation.

Due to this, there is no definite timeline for when BetMGM will be able to roll out horse race wagering in Tennessee.

Elisa Richardson, BetMGM’s head of communications, however, says the brand’s intent is far-reaching.

“Our goal is to bring the offering to as many states as possible.”

Tennesseans can look forward to horse race wagering being available through BetMGM in the future, but there’s no telling how soon that might come.

Photo by Associated Press
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Alec Cunningham

As a college athlete, Alec Cunningham played Division II golf at Tusculum University. She graduated in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Professional Writing. She then returned to her love of written word in 2000 after working in the music industry as a concert promoter, tour manager and artist developer. As a journalist, she's covered a variety of topics and currently specializes in Tennessee online sports betting and Virginia casino news. She served as a panelist at this year's All American Sports Betting Summit, discussing the ever-evolving role of women in the gambling industry.

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