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Sunny Friday!

Woodbine voice Ken Middleton has been tracking the NA Cup eligibles on the Woodbine site and it is dandy. Unlike last year there are a whole slew of horses kept eligible. We'll see what our very own Greg comes up with as he is back this year with his own tracking list. We'll hopefully start that next week here on this blog.

Hec Clouthier, all around nice fella and Prez of OHRIA, ran a marathon last week at the age of 59. I can barely run to the refrigerator. Way to go Mr. C!

The systemic failings of the pari-mutuel system (hey, it is like 150 years old!) were explored by Ray Paulick at the RCI conference last week. This is a mess that we have to clean up, no question.

There is a chat about Pick 6 betting at going on. It is one hard to hit bet. One poster says to play them, you 'need a set'. No kidding. I have a tough enough time with pick 4's. Yesterday I play some tbred action and take a couple pick 4's: The first one at Hawthorne results in my key in leg one getting across and paying a nice $11. I hit the next two legs and I have 4 out of the 6 horses in the last leg, and they are paying between $5k and 8k. Yes, I lose. Right on cue I like one at Hollywood Park because Peter Miller's horse in the opening leg looks grand and is 13-1. I key the bomber, and he wins. I have a super ticket going; one where you think, hmmm, I might have a shot at 20k+ if I get lucky. I have three out of six horses in race 6, 5 out of 6 in race 7 and in the last leg, an all. I lose in leg two, with the 1st through third choices. It paid something like $30,000. Yep, you 'need a set' for sure to play this game.

Today California racing is meeting to discuss a takeout raise. Yes, you read that right and no you are not reading that from the In other news, GM is looking to increase the price of cars because they are not selling any, and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are looking to raise some venture capital to start up a new sub-prime lending company.

If you are in the North East, enjoy the day - sunny and warm, yay!


Allan said…
Hey, I consider myself a fan rather than a gambler; my betting amount is miniscule compared to others who read this board. The racetracks really have no clue who their customer base is do they?

Other than boutique meets like the Delaware County Fair (home of the Little Brown Jug), their audience is not the $2 bettor; it is the 'whales'. $2 bettors are there for the fun and could care less if the takeout rate is 15%, 25% or even 30%. However the large gamblers care if the rate is 15%, 10% or whatever. They will bet where the rate is the smallest. The large time gamblers are like the people who switch banks for an extra .25% on their savings or CDs. Raise the takeout and the whales are going to a different racetrack (bank).

Why do tracks like favorites? It is because more money gets bet; you make money on the churn. Too many longshots and the money doesn't go through again. This only works if there is money to go through the windows. Have a large takeout and the initial money never makes it in.

It amazes me that these tracks don't get it. As a $2 bettor who basically goes for the fun I suggest the following. Keep your takeout rate as high as it is now (don't raise it). Rebate part of the money to the whales that belong to some type of 'club'; the amount depends on the amount bet over a month. No, the tracks don't need to eat it all on their own. And horsemen, you have an interest in this as well; some of the rebate needs to come from you. This model will work well for all bettors for the casual fan and the big bettors. It works in Atlantic City; it is called comps. The larger bettors get bigger and more frequent comps than the person who plays the quarter slots. It is not rocket science.

You know, I am currently unemployed. Maybe I should become a consultant traveling to different tracks and explaining to management and the horsemen the reality of things these days.
Cangamble said…
Allan, almost every large bettor gravitates to the best deal for them regarding rebates. Tracks and ADWs do give better deals based on how much a customer bets.
I'm totally against this though. I think today's big bettor was yesterday's $2 bettor. But whales actually make it even harder for $2 bettors to win (because whales are generally good handicappers and bettors who lose at a much lower rate than the collective house take average). By making it easier for them to increase their bets, they wind up making the takeout for the $2 bettor even higher.
$2 bettors may not be cognizant of track takeout but they do know how long their bankroll is expected to last betting horses. The faster they lose, the more they become disillusioned.
The slots industry understand this concept a lot more than the racing execs do. They know that if they up the house advantage to more than 10%, customers have a higher likelihood of not returning so quickly and maybe even giving up on the game.
The only chance for growth in horse racing is to get $2 bettors to spend more time betting. They may become bigger bettors, and the more time they spend betting and handicapping means that friends and family are likely to become exposed to horse racing as well.
My suggestion is to have equal rebates for everyone who decides to open a racing account.
The only people who should continue betting into a high takeout are those who go one or two times a year if they decide to not open a betting account.

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