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Shining Lights & Forwarding Customer Education is Never a Bad Thing

There's a lot of tweets on my timeline about the bettor "Boycott" of Keeneland. It's good to see so many talking about important issues with regards to the long term health of the game.

There's probably a lot of people waiting to say "I told you so", either from the customer side, or the corporate side. Generally, however, what happens is a bit of a sideshow.

If it rains the next month, if it's sunny, if field size is down or up, if Keeneland gets antsy and sells a signal fee for less than they wanted to, and myriad other things happen, the data will be completely muddy. It's one of the reasons racing has made absolutely awful wagering decisions the last 40 years or more. On the Wikipedia entry for "muddy data" there's a picture of a smiling track executive, because he (it's probably a he) knows he won't be held accountable for anything he does.

What this chatter and the resulting boycott do, in my view, is shine a light on a policy people may or may not know about, and it educates others who often wonder "why do I lose so much money betting racing." If learning about pricing helps a player win more, and enjoy the sport more, that's a good thing.

What these things also do is give a customer a glimpse into racing's thinking regarding price hikes. As this comment showed, the Ellison interview (unintended I'm sure) let customers know that this rake hike is of the corporate variety and it will subsidize their horse sale and large players, along with the big betting teams. This is a dirty little secret about takeout hikes, and this so called "boycott" brought it out into the open - in black and white for everyone to read. Yes, (shocking I know) the smaller player will subsidize the big bettor and breeding farm.

In four or five years when you see some Bloodhorse story with an executive panel wondering where the small bettor went, you'll have an idea what caused it, and you can hold them accountable, rather than get sent to the smiling muddy data wikipedia page. That's the power of knowing what goes on behind closed doors.

Today some bettors will boycott Keeneland and some won't. Some don't mind corporate tracks and their tactics, some don't mind subsidizing large players or horse sales; they just want to enjoy the sport and play a few races. Others do mind, and they'll bet another track.

But one thing's for sure - both sets of these players are smarter and more educated about how this business is run. They might be able to extract more money from you this meet, but being educated about their tactics is something they can never take away from you.

Enjoy your weekend everyone.


Comments

Anonymous said…
If you are not a part of one of the elite groups of high end computer bettors..... here is the short version of what is happening to you and your money at the new Keeneland meet and several other places.

I will use the analogy of a poker table. All the normal players playing in the traditional manner ante up in the form of the takeout.
The elite groups have most of their ante given back to them by the casino ( in this case the racetrack or their parent company.) The higher the takeout, the bigger the disadvantage for the traditional player. Under normal circumstances, if you take all the antes from everyone at the table and give most of that money to only one player in a poker game, the other players are now at a distinct disadvantage. That is the game you are now playing at Keeneland. Your chance of winning at this poker table, although not impossible, are clearly diminished.
Now the game is ready to start. You, as a traditional player are being taken advantage of. If I had to make a betting line, this would be it. The elite computer groups will bet more. The traditional players will bet less because they will always win less because of the new rules of the game ( takeout increase ) at Keeneland.
We saw what happens when traditional players are treated fairly at Kentucky Downs and the old Keeneland. Low takeout for the traditional players creates a fair game. winners become bigger winners and more importantly, small losers can now become small winners. This is how you can grow the game.
For once in your life as a horseplayer, take a stand . There is a lot riding on this. Unless you want these rules to be the rules everywhere, get up and move to a table ( racetrack )that will treat you fairly. Do not let these people predetermine who will be the winners and who will be the losers. Step up for what is right and fair before it is too late.
"Where have you gone Joe DiMaggio ( Nick Nicholson ), a nation turns it's lonely eyes to you."
The traditional horseplayer can't say it any better that that.
Anonymous said…
I did my part. I used my on track rewards to buy five Keeneland programs and they are in a thousand pieces on the floor .