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DRF Survey, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue

I enjoyed taking the DRF survey - which was mainly about drug use and lasix - a few weeks ago, and the results were released today. The results pretty much echo similar surveys released over the years on similar issues.

Tonko Bill, Something Borrowed - The bill that has been pushed by the Jockey Club which would allow the USADA to control testing, and provide some federal oversight for the sport, received solid support in the DRF survey. The numbers are near the HANA survey of its membership for such federal oversight, and also near the poll the Jockey Club commissioned themselves. Those numbers are old hat.

What's most interesting in this, in my view, is the frustration from fans and players. The DRF survey showed that even if signals are pulled, people want something done. Like it or not, the Jockey Club, and whomever else is pushing this, have a strong mandate to act. There is no denying it, and opponents, again in my view, better come up with an alternative rather than the power of "no" because they're going to get left in the starting gate.

The Sausage Versus Making the Sausage, Something New - Lasix use is a different story and I liked the DRF parsed this question. The bill above is said to back door the removal of lasix and when we add that to the mix, the results are not nearly as clear. When you ask bettors about lasix, as the DRF did, you notice that we, as a group, are much more agnostic. A plurality of bigger bettors would rather have lasix, so they know what's being given to each horse, rather than in Europe where none of us know. I think this is a strong lesson from the machinations we've seen with these bills - if lasix is removed from them, they skate through in this industry. Owners leaning slightly towards lasix bans surprised me a little, but really, they are as frustrated as bettors are about this industry.

The Big Issues for Betting Revenue, Something Very Blue - Once again, the people who bet over $25,000 a year, which is akin to a $20 win bettor, weekend warrior to an every day grinder, want something done on three issues - lower takeout, field size, withholding. All three provide a customer with value; lower juice is a higher payoff, withholding is a rake reduction and field size is a value metric.

This makes us very blue, because those same exact issues have been asked for since Pittsurgh Phil's nephew told a New York paper in 1947 that his uncle would not even have entertained betting the sport then, because the payoffs had gotten so bad. Rake in 1947 was somewhere around 10 points.

As is shown today, with the announcement of a rake reduction on a jackpot bet of all things (which means absolutely nothing to the folks who answered this question), the industry shows just how unwilling it is to act on these real issues, 70 years hence.

I barely scratched the surface regarding the DRF survey - there are plenty of interesting gems and hard numbers at the link above - so give it a read if you are interested.

Have a nice Monday friends.

Comments

Ron said…
I know you're in Canada and don't have to worry about it, but have you heard anything about the proposal to change withholding in the U.S.? The whole movement seems to have gone silent.