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'Horseplayers' reality star speaks out about exchange wagering at Monmouth Park

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Christian Hellmers, entrepreneur, professional horseplayer and trader on horse racing, and reality star of the new series Horseplayers, which premieres tonight (Tuesday, Jan. 21) on Esquire Network, explains how online European-based exchange wagering expected to be offered at Monmouth Park racetrack this spring could be a win-win for everyone.

Monmouth Park and New Jersey horsemen are on to something big. Really big. If things go as planned this spring, the 2014 New Jersey Thoroughbred horse racing season could catapult the venerable New Jersey track into the annals of American horse racing history.

The track plans to offer a revolutionary form of wagering of European origin that may change the face of horse racing in the United States forever. It’s called exchange wagering and it is termed by professional horseplayer Christian Hellmers as nothing less than “euphoric.”

Marcya Roberts, freelance writer, interviewed Christian Hellmers (he is also a former Director of U.S. Business Development for Betfair who was instrumental in helping solidify the acquisition of the horse racing network TVG) to find out just what exchange wagering is and how it works. Hellmers, a reality-show star in the upcoming series Horseplayers, also discusses his role in the show and what viewers can expect this season.

Marcya: As you know, the company that controls Monmouth Park just entered into a tentative deal with Betfair to offer exchange wagering. Once the final regulatory measures are set, Monmouth Park will be the first racetrack to offer this new form of wagering in the United States. I understand that in the past you worked with Betfair Limited Group while it was trying to break into the U.S. market. Can you please tell me a little about yourself and your experiences with horse racing and explain your role as it relates to exchange wagering?

Christian: I spent from 2005 until 2008 helping Betfair Limited Group pursue their business attempts to legalize the betting exchange in the U.S. We couldn’t get every state to agree but in the end, however, we decided an acquisition of TVG would be the best way to gain entrance into the United States. I led those efforts and then we parted ways. Presently, I am in the new reality show Horseplayers which premieres January 21 on Esquire Network. I am one of stars of the show I guess you would say. There are eight of us. Cameras follow our lives and all the handicapping tournaments.

I am also an entrepreneur -- a California UCLA guy. I trade on the horses professionally. I have sophisticated models that I have written and I am currently seeking investors. I am looking to raise one to two million dollars.

Marcya: Since you were instrumental in bringing exchange wagering to the states, can you describe what it is all about, how much fun it is and how one can get involved?

Christian: Well, it is definitely a euphoric experience betting on the exchange. The ability to take your bidding into a business mindset is one of the things that makes it stand out as it has very sophisticated tools that allow you to track your profit and loss. You can effectively treat racing as though it is a stock exchange and buy and sell, buy and sell, buy and sell depending on how picky you are with your price and what the market is doing.

There are a variety of players that are solely betting the movement of price. These are true derivatives-type traders. They have programs that they install on top of Betfair. Betfair has an open API. And what that means is, similar to your iPhone, applications are built on top of it. There are several hundred software programs, so you can pay a couple bucks a month and get a trading program and treat horse racing like it is a stock market.