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The 'Issues' Discussions

I watched the DRF podcast this morning up on the Youtube (embedded below if interested). I know the "issues" when it comes to (primarily) betting are not for everyone, but this discussion - although I might disagree in several fronts - was really quite good.

One of the parts I did enjoy was about New Jersey's foray into exchange wagering, which is supposed to go live this March. The DRF discussion was level two, not one, which is very refreshing. There was no Al Queda is using it to launder money, jockeys will be jumping off horses, the world is going to end. It was much more mature, and that's welcomed.

New Jersey's main issue with the exchange, is like all exchange issues in other jurisdictions - watering down its main selling points by i) charging too much ii) not having proper liquidity iii) not linking NJ and UK pools; short-changing the exchange, if you will.

I fear that will be its biggest challenge and I do see little way around it. The business thinks like it does, and its been doing it this way for a hundred years. Not having bots on the exchange is another short-sighted policy. Bots make mistakes which can draw people to watch, and they add to the market, which will likely be thin.

I am stoked about having harness racing on that exchange, from most likely the Big M and Freehold. Yes, cheating is always a concern, but one of the best parts of the exchange is that it acts like the bait car and shows who is cheating, or be willing to. This is where racing can not handle it with kid gloves. If a trainer or driver is willing to blatantly cheat on an exchange, they are likely the ones using that cobalt-frog juice-synthetic go faster juice, too. Boot them out. For a long time. The business will thank you.

DRF's Matt Hegarty made a strong point about the Derby Wars (which appears the DRF folks can't say by name, or they'll get zapped by someone in charge) lawsuit, which I think most of the masses miss. This revenue stream is not large and will not bring in revenue like anyone thinks it will. This is McDonald's offering a 40 cent soft drink for a limited time if you buy french fries. It's a tailgate party before an NFL game. It's Direct TV offering an app.

We play fantasy racing every day, by betting. The industry - track by track, one by one if need be - should just be partnering with these companies, and getting them to promote for them. The return on ad spend, at this point and probably for the next decade if it's so lucky, is larger than any revenue one would receive from a usurious tax of some sort.

Do I think that will happen? No. I said the exact same thing about exchange wagering to racetracks in about 2003. It's been 13 years and the business is only slowly coming around. Like I said, they don't think like that.

Notes:

American Pharoah won some sort of performance of the year award from Sports Illustrated yesterday. I will take them at their word that it was planned, but it sure sounds like a "holy smokes, they're mad let's give them something because, you know, the Triple Crown thing is kind of hard and deserves something" decision.

Dan Patch winners were announced.

HPI (Woodbine's ADW arm) has been taking it on the chin on the Harnessdriver chat board of late, for takeout hikes and a new interface, that bettors seem to dislike. Many south of the border who clamor for a "national ADW" are generally insiders, because all bettors know ADW monopolies are not going to turn out well for them. Canada needs an open market if they are serious about increasing wagering on horses (I don't think they are, so the point is moot).

There are more kicking fines up on SC, including driver Doug Mcair being referred to the  commission. 

Here's the DRF Podcast. Have a nice day everyone.


Comments

BitPlayer said…
Thanks for the link to the podcast. I had not watched one before, but found this one interesting. A couple of things seemed to go undiscussed with regard to Hegarty's suggestion that some racetrack should do an extended experiment with reduced takeout. One, raised by a commenter here a while ago, is whether (in an era when offtrack players dominate handle) increased churn would go to the experimenting track or to other tracks. The second is how the decreased takeout would affect distribution of the experimenting track's signal. I seem to recall that, a few years ago, Keeneland had several outlets threaten to drop their signal when they proposed a takeout decrease.