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Betfair, Gural - Smoke Em if You Got Em

Gural and Betfair pulled the trigger on a deal today where Betfair will provide infrastructure and know how for offering sports betting at both Tioga and the Big M. This comes on the heels of the NJ government voting unanimously to legalize this form of wagering at casinos and racetracks.

I suspect Tioga will take some time (sports betting is not passed in NY yet) but the Meadowlands should be up and running fairly soon, I would guess. And that's clearly the big prize. Its proximity to NYC has always been an edge - in fact, that was the edge that made slots so wanted for so many years.

How well this does or doesn't do is beyond me offering a logically strong guess, but I think it does have potential. Along with the previous geographical first mover advantage:

i) I had some dealings with Betfair (before the merger) and it struck me that their strength was in their technologies. They were always a tech company ahead of a betting company. That expertise is an asset, because betting companies over the next half century will differentiate and thrive on tech, not on a new bet, or super jackpot parlay card that everyone else can copy.

ii) The Meadowlands is in a very tough spot when it comes to the marketplace. Right now it's teetering at an inflection point, where even a small bump in purses can do major good for their long term revenue outlook. This could provide that.

iii) Paddy Power, as per the release, says they took $15B in sports betting wagers last year. That's more than all of thoroughbred and harness racing combined. They know how to take bets.

Gural, quite frankly, hasn't got too many breaks when it comes to the Big M. If this does work out well, and the overnight stock (as well as the betting menu, which clearly needs some work) improves, maybe he's finally on to something.

As for Betfair, I wish them well. They invested time and money to reach this moment in time. They deserve to be rewarded for that.

Regardless, the landscape is about to change in Jersey. It'll be very interesting to see how this shakes out.

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