Yesterday's Rainbow Six mandatory payout day was a success, by all counts. The bet attracted over $3.5 million of new money, and the $5 million pool was spread out to many bettors, with the chalky result. As we noted early on with the Beulah Fortune six, this bet can market itself, generate some buzz and get people to look at your product.
The bet itself attracted the horseplayers it wanted to attract at the outset. Players like O_crunk had a nice ticket for around $300, and split it with a newbie betting 'lady friend'; they hit. ITP, a pro player, threw in $8,000 and hit it multiple times (and no he is not blowing smoke). The Twinspires players pool fared less well, spending $100k, and not getting a lot out of it. I would assume they had many combos multiple times, and may have took a hit in the last leg with a 10-1 shot winning.
There is little question this was a good bet for Gulfstream. The GP pools yesterday, when compared to the same day last year, were up 81% overall. Overall, the Rainbow, along with the new 50 cent five with a low takeout, gave players a reason to look at them, and handicap their cards this season. It appears handle will be up north of 5% this meet at the Florida track.
The pitfalls of this bet have been well-documented here and elsewhere. Before yesterday this was one of the worst bets on the planet for serious players, and serious players stayed away. At a 50%+ takeout with zero cash in the pools, it is an absolute churn killer for players - especially for those who might be less sophisticated and not understand the math. If we have a churn factor of five in North America, that means horseplayers have a bankroll of only around $2B to play the races, This bet sucked out some of that, and didn't give it back to replay.
Regardless, the buzz, the interest and the general feel of the bet was good. It shows what type of energy a bet like this can generate for the good of racing.
I think it is a perfect illustration about what can happen if racing gets together to figure out how to replicate this experience, and sell it to gamblers across other demographics. In Sweden they can get $35M pools for their V75 on carryover days and the economy of that country has the GDP of the greater Pittsburgh area. We can and should do better.
How about every racino selling this bet to slot players through a new system? In Australia and New Zealand we can walk into a track and put $20 into a machine and get a fractional wager on something like this. Why not here?
What about expanding this online through a dedicated website/ADW where the general public can play this bet and only this bet once a week? How about in lotto kiosks at slots parlors, casinos, racebooks, turf clubs and elsewhere with dedicated support staff? You could have a card system like a lottery bet, or simply offer some mix and match tickets called "chalk", "risky", "random" etc. They come back and check their results right on the website, or at the kiosk. You sell this bet to lottery players or newbies the only way they know how to wager - not like a racetrack ticket, but like a lottery ticket.
With all of the red tape, much of this seems insurmountable. However, this is exactly the type of bet we can use to expand racings reach to lottery players. It has verve, a pool, bragging rights for winners, and a little bit of luck all mixed in. It has everything that appeals to non-traditional racetrack gamblers.
The goal is simple: Let's organize and find a way to get these bets to them. To be a major league gambling sport, it takes major league organization and a vision. Marketing only to ourselves will not cut it.
Kudos to the Hambo Society, and Daryl Kaplan at Trot. Three years ago a bet with organization like this was discussed for harness racing by Kaplan at a Wagering Conference. He tried to get it done, but it was shot down in Ontario. Two years ago at dinner in Lexington, myself and two other horseplayers sat down with John Cashman (Hambo Chair and Castleton Farms head) and Kathy Parker at Malone's discussing a similar bet for the Hambo. The ideas are there, the organization is not quite there yet.
Big Event Blog's take on the Rainbow Six
As expected, Jaycito is gone from the Derby trail
The pick 4 pool last night at Woodbine attracted $86,000 and was topped up to $100k (making it a must bet). This shows, in my opinion, why some luck and scheduling is important. As noted above, there is only so much money in horseplayer bankrolls. A lot of yesterday's action was in the GP pick 6. I myself failed to play the pick 4 last night, not because I did not want to, but because I was too tired to structure more tickets. I would imagine Derby Day will be another day where this pool will be in tough to hit the benchmark.