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Being Nimble. For Racing it's Harder Than it Should Be

I was perusing the betting news this morning and saw this about Draft Kings and Fanduel innovating their offerings to customers.

"After testing the legal fencework, DFS operators have been on an innovation blitz over the last year or so. FanDuel created a whole division, FanDuel Labs, which is charged with developing new formats and game types. It’s been busy, too, rolling out ideas on a near-weekly schedule, it seems."

Innovating by offering new contests, new games, different formats and new technologies is nothing new in gambling over the web. But what is striking is the ease in which these companies can be nimble. It's essential to most businesses on the web, but certainly so in gambling.

Meanwhile, I read an article at the Washington Post by the always interesting Megan McArdle. She looked at a completely different phenomenon - changes in a product via slow rolling incrementalism; in this case, motor vehicles.

"For one thing, regular old-fashioned cars were non…
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The Eagles Embrace their Inner Geek, Racing? We're Still Waiting for the Impossible

It was 4th and goal with little time left in the first half at yesterday's Super Bowl. A field goal would put the team from Philly up 18-12, and the safe, conventional call would not have surprised anyone.

We all know that's not what happened. The Eagles went for it.

Coach Doug Pederson and staff didn't much care that if the play failed, and they lost the game, the media would've had a conniption fit. They went for it because the numbers said they should.

As Ben Shpigel noted in the New York Times (written before the victory), the Eagles have been doing this all season long.

As we noted in a similar post last year with play calling, there are two main biases at play.

There's a flight to safety, or what we may call the bird in the hand decision making tree. This is the 'we're here so we have to get points' phenomenon the media and some fans love. And what we read about in school when we studied prospect theory.

From the NYT article: "Humans put an un…

My Thoughts on the Great Somebeachsomewhere

Harness Racing Update has a really good issue today (pdf) with stunning photography and stories related to the loss of pacing and stallion superstar Somebeachsomewhere.

He was a special horse, obviously; I think the fact that his vet and farm manager, Dr. Bridgette Jablonsky, took out the full page ad and signed it so simply with her first name is beautifully testament to that. But what makes that horse extra-special, in my view, is that he had just about everything - charisma, a back story, a modest sales price, down home owners; and he was fast. So fast.

My first taste of the Beach was me betting against (my words), "that long gaited horse who won't handle the half" in the Battle of Waterloo in his first start.

A few weeks later I remember thinking he lucked out a little in the Battle, and bet against him in the Metro Elimination. All he did that night was take the lead, and pace away from a couple extremely good horses (one of which was 1-9; Beach was a juicy …

Winning the Gambling Internet

“New Jersey will end up with sports betting no later than Week One of the next NFL season and potentially as soon as March Madness,” says Daniel Wallach, a gaming law expert at Becker & Poliakoff. Other states would almost certainly follow.

So notes a story today at Bloomberg.

In other words, the gambling world is about to change.

How it goes about changing is anyone's guess, quite frankly. Internet gambling, especially that in which involves sports, is a thorny, murky malaise in North America. It always has been.

However, despite the obvious questions (and the risk rate that it demands), companies are positioning themselves with laser-like speed. One scenario has existing gambling companies purchasing customers (and the infrastructure and regulatory assets) that are already 'gambling' on the web, legally.

"More likely, it seems, is that established gambling companies look to team up with daily fantasy operators or buy them outright. DraftKings and FanDuel have…

Wednesday's Wagering and Racing Notes

Good morning everyone.

Yonkers ditched the passing lane this week, and the early results are quite interesting. Two particular tactics I see being employed by drivers are adding to the excitement (and prices) of the races. First, we're seeing movement from the three hole quicker, because brushing by to the lead at or before the half is a strong tactical advantage; wait and pull down the backstretch is happening much less. Second, horses who are third or fourth over are moving wide early to give the horse a try. Going up the inside for a slice is less effective, and it too is probably a smart tactical move.
There was more action in Race 11 @YonkersRaceway than in the last 2,000 races combined — DRF Harness Matt (@DRFHarnessMatt) January 9, 2018 There's a double carryover in the pick 5 on Friday at Yonkers. The Meadowlands has a huge carryover in their pick 5 Friday as well. Both should possess takeout in the 5% or lower range. Yonkers' will probably have a positive pool.

Where Things Are Going in '18 Horse Racing is Anyone's Guess

The 2017 business of racing season is almost in the books. This year, for players and the business, we've seen some good and some bad, but things look to be up slightly on the handle front from 2016.

Was it a good year or bad year? I lean that it's been pretty static.

Racing generally sets a low bar, primarily because the handle trend has been down for so long, so any uptick is viewed positively. But, any business which has neglected some basic business instruments - field size, competitive racing, poor scheduling and a sub-optimal race allocation mix - for so long, it should incrementally get better through trial and error, and better management.

I think that's happened over the last couple of years.

We see more and more racetracks look at scheduling better races; we've had the higher handle tracks keep or expand dates, lower handle tracks reduce them; Twinspires, TVG etc have experimented with new promotions, learning new ways to increase churn; the big entities have…

The Restaurant is Open, We Just Don't Have a Menu

As most know by now, Churchill Downs has banned the DRF from its premises. There's good news though - you can still buy it at a nearby gas station.
If you're coming to CD and want a print #DRF, the @ThorntonsGas on 3rd St. just south of I-264 still had quite a few at 9:30 a.m. today. Both Fri. and Sat. editions, incl. a $7.95 short edition (CD/Aqu only). Can't buy a print #DRF at the track, as you may've heard. — Marty McGee (@DRFMcGee) November 24, 2017 Come for the food, just don't bring the menu you've used since Duke Ellington was on the charts. If it wasn't so sad it would be comical.
Fans upset about long lines at Churchill's new DRF pat down station — The Racing Onion (@RacingOnion) November 22, 2017 Racing - especially the corporate variety - has become more and more insular. Signals are withheld, big day signals are priced super-high, the usual horsemen-track signal fights, and increased takeout are all signs of s…