My grandpa, like so many men with post-WWII PTSD, used to hit the OTB downtown for a little Night Train, some betting, and some losing. That was then, this is now. You, too, can crack open a fine ripple and bet on the ponies, but now you can do it from the comfort of your laptop.
DerbyJackpot.com is, in short, taking advantage of a legal loophole that makes horse-race betting the only legal form of online gambling. And they’re making it social.
DerbyJackpot essentially makes racetrack betting far easier than hitting the Aqueduct with Uncle Louie and his friends or julep-ing all over your hat at the Kentucky Derby. After creating an account you can pick a pony (or ponies) and bet. The site allows you to place bets at over 100 tracks across the country and you can watch a live video feed of those mighty steeds scrambling for first place.
You can bet as little as a dime, and a special “Monkey Bet” lets you place bets without much knowledge of racing. The founders, Tom and Walter Hessert, worked with their brother Billy to design a system that allowed for real-time social networking while you bet, as well as web chat with other players.
“The idea first came to them when Walter and Tom were at the Preakness earlier in the year, waiting in these absurdly long lines to place simple bets for the first time. Tom placed a $5 bet and won $25 almost immediately, leaving them to wonder, how could they make this easier for anyone to do, every day?” said Dorothy Jean, DerbyJackpot’s spokesperson.
The company is privately funded and they’ve come out of beta today.
– The Monkey Bet – bets start at one dollar, with a big payout if the player chooses the winning horse
– The Granny Bet – bets start at one dollar, and the player wins if their horse comes in first, second or third place
– The Dime Bet – for just ten cents, players win big if they match the first four horses in order.
The real differentiator is ease-of-use. By bringing a more “gaming” feel to the product, DerbyJackpot reduces the weirdness associated with racing.
“There are other online horse-race-betting sites, but they are very technical and geared only toward the professional or experienced handicapper,” said Jean. “DerbyJackpot is designed for the casual gamer and requires no prior knowledge of horse-racing vocabulary or experience.”
While you don’t quite get the sense of the track – the manure, the sadness, the joy of fleeting victory – you can, however, spread some straw on your couch, pour a Miller Lite, and live out your dreams of betting glory online. Remember: He’s a mudder, Jerry.