Sunday, June 26, 2011

California Racing on Display

Yesterday there was a meeting of some sort in California, between the horsemen association (the TOC) and some other folks (who are not named in the article linked below, so it's a bit of a mystery).

The quotes from the meeting, from a customer perspective, are pretty curious. And that's putting it mildly.

In terms of the takeout hike, which has helped result in hundreds of millions in handle losses so far, owner Mike Pegram said "I am not willing to take an 18% pay cut". That was an interesting comment, because with handle losses continuing, I don't think we need a masters in math to figure the pay cut is going to come on its own.

In other news, the horsemen group appears to want to block low takeout (and very popular) exchange wagering, unless the takeout is sky-high (among other things that have been studied for years already).

"On a different matter, Pegram said the TOC will not support the implementation of exchange wagering in 2012, unless issues regarding to “cannibalization, [prevention] of corruption, and the takeout rate” are addressed."

In the past, the horsemen group of record in the state has not allowed rebating to in-state customers (so bettors can get a fair shake and enjoy the racing game more), and have had a punishing signal fee structure. They have also curbed out of state simo races, which give customers choice and also allow them to be happier bettors.

In summary:
  • A takeout increase occurred, which customers do not like.
  • Exchange wagering, which customers like, is likely going to be rejected
  • Rebates, that allow for in-state customers to be on a level playing field with out of state customers, and help them enjoy the sport more, continue to be banned
  • Betting choice, which customers like, is being resisted.
Do they need a road map to see why customers don't want to give them their business?

I'm glad I made the decision to not bet a single penny on their racing product this year.  With headlines like the above, it'll be a hell of a long time before I do.

    4 comments:

    tencentcielo said...

    It was an open forum, so anyone could attend. It was announced by Vic Stauffer right after the Hollywood Oaks results. It was also allegedly said earlier on the card according to my friend, but I wasn't on track yet so I can't confirm.

    (Personal matters prevented me from staying and attending.)

    I will say that Pegram stance on Exchange Wagering isn't as bad as at seems, as I can at least understand the complaints about the how of a cut the tracks will get. Until a percentage is announced, I would be skeptical as well, especially considering how little (comparatively) exchanges pay the track in the UK (according to the recent Bloodhorse article). (I say this as a person who REALLY wants exchange wagering)

    Of course, I also think that no matter what California does, racing will cease to exist out here within 10 years of Hollywood Park closing. :-(

    Anonymous said...

    Their policies are anti-customer. They succeeded..... they have fewer customers.

    It's ECON 101.

    Tinky said...

    Good, terse summary.

    Tinky said...

    Good, terse summary.