Friday, February 20, 2009

You Can't Be a Customer

When I was young(er) and foolish(er) (a few years ago) I was shopping for an ADW. I saw a guy wearing a You Bet hat. I said to myself, "this looks cool. I will try them." I called. I could not be their customer because of where I lived. I then tried another that I saw. No sorry, I can not be their customer.

This goes on and on in racing. People calling and wanting to be a customer and being told that they can not be. "You will take what we give you and like it or you will not play racing!" seems to be the mantra. I am not the only one. It seems if you live in a state which does not allow it, own a pit bull as a pet, once voted for Barry Goldwater, or were caught with a cheat sheet in grade 4 math class in 1977, you are not allowed to bet racing.

Want a glimpse of the pure unadulterated insanity regarding this? Click here for customer requirements from a popular ADW (of course the nonsense has nothing to do with the ADW, it is the business which makes it this difficult). After reading it I feel like someone is going to spring a pop quiz on me, or perhaps they are playing a cruel joke. One thing I know what I don't feel like when I look at that mess - a customer.

Marketer Seth Godin explores this in a simple yet poignant piece called "Sorry you can't be a customer."

Here's the thing: From the rational consumer's point of view, this is silly. They should take my money and we'll both be happy.


Racing is not exactly healthy. We should not be turning people away, but each day it happens. If racing is not going to work on fixing much of this, Seth is correct with his premise that we need to be able to turn them away with a plan. A customer could walk in your door tomorrow and be a million dollar bettor, and over a lifetime supply you with revenue to run 10 North America Cups. He/she should be respected the moment the "can I be your customer" question is asked.

Monopolies can do this. An energy company in Alaska is needed by everyone, or folks would probably be pretty cold. I am sure they can be a little non-customer centric. Racing is not one. I hope we come to terms with it soon.

5 comments:

Ryan said...

I hate that I can wager legally in Ohio at 18, but must be 21 to use any of the ADWs that I've come across.

Frank said...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think this is racing's fault per se. These rules and restrictions are the result of the tangled web of state laws that govern wagering. As a customer, it's a pain, I agree... but I don't think this is one we can lay at racing's door.

Pull the Pocket said...

I am of the opinion that if we can lobby governments for billions in slots, and a potential millions in sports betting, we should have long ago lobbied to make sure our customers can bet the races.

Nicholas said...

This drives me absolutely crazy.

Of course, I could use an offshore service which isn't contributing to the purses at all.

Allan said...

I know this is too simple, but why can't we find out the model that works best in other parts of the world and just implement it here? Let's form some type of compact where all the state's get their share and let it be at that?