First off, let me thank everyone who commented, and ask if you have not and want to, please do below.
The response has been much more than I anticipated and several things have struck me:
- The Harnessedge, Standardbred Canada and Harnesslink.com all placed the story up on their websites. There are obviously people there frustrated that the status-quo has taken over our game. I guess if they see a group of people concerned that the game has fallen so far, and not grown as it should, and offering somewhat of a proposal, it gives them reason to promote that. I thank them all for running it. We have had traffic and responses from their links.
- The fans who commented, who might not bet an arm and a leg, but who want to see the game get better. The horsemen who commented, who we all know are busy people.
- The bigger bettors. They commented too. I would be shocked if in aggregate, we had less than $30M in yearly handle represented in the comments so far. Ian Meyers who runs Premier Turf Club also commented. If a takeout reduction happened across the board it would actually hurt his business. His model is built on returning some rake to the player through legal rebating. Still, there he is saying "great idea". We need more people in this business thinking of its growth tomorrow, rather than their own pocketbook of today. Ian's platform is awesome and so is his customer service. He will find a way to win as a businessman in whatever racing throws at him.
The common theme that I find with players is that we are unlike anyone out there in racing. When the horsemen groups and tracks discuss their deals, as we see going on down south with groups wanting to shut wagering off at Lone Star, and yesterday's news about the Kentucky Derby, there is always a fight for a slice. With the players, without fail when speaking of takeout reductions (and this is a common theme of the comments below) it is always about growing the game.
It amazes me like no other business. We don't see customers at Walmart comment on a blog about the price of lawn chairs because they want to see Wal Mart grow. We don't see people comment about wanting the prices of televisions changed so Best Buy can make 11 cents a share instead of 9 cents a share. But in racing, fans and gamblers comment constantly about helping the game get better, and bigger and stronger.
Our fans and bettors are a strange breed, we all know that. But their passion for this game is like none other. They all deserve a seat at the table. When I see the fights down south with groups butting heads for signals and slices and signal fights, that is never more apparent. This game is nothing without our customers - absolutely nothing. They need to be heard.
Once again, I thank everyone who commented and ask that you continue to. It's important.
Good racing today and this weekend everyone.