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No Need To Be Interventionist

We had our fun yesterday with the NYRA meeting notes. We haven't had that many retweets since I mentioned Justin Bieber once, so thanks for that. But the real story yesterday was that business began with the "New" New York Racing Association.

As most know, handle was up this past year at NYRA tracks. They're moving in the right direction, for mainly three reasons (in my opinion of course): 1) Field size was up over a half a horse 2) The NYRA rewards ADW has been pushed, and OTB money is being shifted into more profitable areas pretty well and 3) Takeout has come down a couple of points on exotics, adding a little bit of churn.

Things are going well.

When I read NYRA board member Bobby Flay say:
  • "We got lucky, said Flay, in that video lottery terminals "bailed out NYRA. We don't have a product that the public wants to go see. We need to build the infrastructure of the racing product. We need to start doing that now, not later.
It gives me pause. What means "build the infrastracture of the racing product the public wants to see"? If it means creating better field size and lowering takeout again, that's great. If it means more third and eighth races with high purses for short fields, or state breds, or a deep concentration on the nebulous "quality" angle, based on someone's opinion on what that is, well, I disagree. We saw that happen in Ontario. Everyone told everyone what they wanted to see, except the betting public, and the industry paid for it.

NYRA has a tremendous brand. It's why when they go off the turf in the summer and card a bunch of races with four horses, and several other races in the soup, handle is still really, really good. A contentious group of cheap claimers in a 10 horse field causes bettors to drop the Santa Anita form and look to a NYRA track, and they've been carding a lot of those this year.

Card bettable races with deep fields - claimers, allowance, it matters little. Raise field size. Continue to lower takeout - how about a cheap pick 5 or a 1% across the board cut in WPS? Bill Nader is not there, but it doesn't mean you can't act like him on takeout. Continue to offer player rewards in NYRA's internet betting ADW, and extoll their benefits, and empower customers.

There's no need to be interventionist. What they're currently doing is working all on its own. The market is telling them that, and the market is always right.


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