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And the Winner is...... Tom LaMarra!

Yesterday was kind of an interesting day in horse racing land.

At the RTIP Symposium, the final four entrants for the "Innovation" award (and $15k) presented their ideas and a winner was chosen. Two of the three ideas were kinda of sort of betting, and one was a 3D scan that would quickly help identify lameness (and hopefully help the breakdowns).

The two betting ideas were interesting, in that they were both not really about betting.

First there was a pick 20 in a row quick pick ticket idea based on the MLB game called Beat the Streak. Beat the Streak has not been won in the 14 years since it started. By the looks of it, it might last until Justin Bieber's great great grandson is inaugurated.

The second idea. Swop Stakes, according to Scott over at the PR:
"How the game works: Players purchase “quick-pick” tickets that include runners in a series of races. While the tickets are random, players can then buy, sell or trade tickets with the “bank” or with each other, depending on whether they like what they have or not.

It's been reported that the game has 30% juice. Pennsylvania racing probably likes that part of the idea.

I don't know enough about these ideas (although the pick the twenty in a row thing is pretty easy to understand; I think the odds of hitting it are equal to getting hit by lightning three times, while getting bitten by a shark, within a ten hour window).

But it struck me that horse racing has a really good structure for a gambling game already. That's where I think I will bring in my Pocket Innovation Award Winner ®.


It's Tom LaMarra, yesterday in the Bloodhorse (pdf page 8). 

Tom has an innovative idea:
Pari-mutuel wagering is all about churn, and the largest pools on average are the combined straight bets—win, place, and show—and exactas. They are also the wagers potential fans and players can understand with minimal education. They are ripe for lower takeout rates because they offer the best opportunities for churn. Why spend money on fan development when you're in effect inviting people to partake in a game with a flawed economic model? Why not fix the model first and give people another incentive to become involved?
No, there is no mention of food trucks, the English Beat, a band that only AlanLATG knows, JACKPOT BETS, buses, Miss Cougar's or Mr. Cougar's (not sure about that one). It's about upping churn and making racing more enjoyable to play as a gambling game.

Congratulations Tom. As the first Pocket Innovation Award Winner ® you receive a 1979 Meadowlands program featuring the great Niatross, and guaranteed 2014 program pricing at all NYRA tracks.

Notes:

In the TDN there was a look at the mistake horse racing makes when it holds back on new ways to gamble on the core sport, the release of actionable data and other protectionist policies.

It's interesting to read the Santa Anita exec talk about contest and fantasy horse racing like a normal player, rather than what we've seen talked about from upstairs in that company.

Donald Trump. I have nothing to say here, but I want to type the name out because it might help with traffic from the web crawler thingies.

Jeff Gural has the right stuff

I really like the trainer comments addition to the Meadowlands race reviews. Handy, interesting and worth reading.

Comments

Ron said…
Ludt calls himself a horseplayer yet is against rebates. Basically condoning the ridiculous takeout rates currently in place. That was one of the worst pieces I've read at drf.