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There's More Than One Response to One Big Aftercare Ask

Crunk tweeted this today --
What message does "racing" think it's sending when every winning ticket that's inserted into tote machines on track, the user is asked to make a donation to aftercare? I was surprised at this experience at SAR last w/e. Essentially forcing customers to think about this issue. — o_crunk (@o_crunk) July 30, 2018 On the surface, and for regular horse fans and bettors, this is pretty basic - Help aftercare with a touch of a button. Great idea.

If we slap on the critical thinking hat and look a few rungs below the top of the ladder, it becomes a little more problematic.

If you're at the track for the very first time and see this, your response might be different.

"They don't have a plan to take care of these horses when they retire? What kind of business would do that?"

If you're a politician out for a stroll that is unaware of the size of some of the tax breaks, or gaming subsidies, you might say, "I have to find ou…

Grinding Down the Bankrolls of the Masses

David Schwartz of UNLV wrote a neat article on blackjack in Forbes today (h/t to Charlie).  In it he explores what's happened over the years as casinos have tried to make changes to the margins to earn more rake from each player. This includes 6-5 blackjacks and standing on a soft 17.

Proponents of 6:5 and the other edge-padding rule changes argue that the vast majority of customers don’t know the difference. Walking a casino floor and seeing 6:5 tables packed with smiling players, they might be right. But the numbers tell a different story. 
Since 2000, the number of blackjack tables in the state of Nevada has fallen by over 31 percent. Yes, but the amount casinos win from blackjack is still the same, some might argue, so things aren’t that bad. Factoring in inflation, though, the amount Nevada casinos have won at blackjack has fallen by 46 percent.
This is not much different than is seen with a marginal takeout increase in any game. Betting volume depends on a few things, one of…

May's Numbers Are In - Here's My Completely Back of the Napkin Monmouth Sports Betting Projections

Crunk linked today's New Jersey gaming report, and here were some numbers.
On $16.4M total handle, 7.8% hold. Full report can be found here (.pdf): https://t.co/FiHAbx0x19https://t.co/bKx3dLefYs — o_crunk (@o_crunk) July 12, 2018 Doing a little math we see Monmouth did about $10.8M in handle for the couple of weeks they were operating in May. Extrapolating handle is pretty problematic because this is like a cat trying to catch a laser pointer, but let's say for an average May this would mean Monmouth would bring in about $20M in sports wagers.

In contrast, Nevada Sports Books did $315M this May.

Playing around with the numbers, we can make some probably wildly inaccurate projections, but projections based on something concrete nonetheless.

I'm taking into account a 5% hold (it was reported as 7.8% but it will likely come down), 9% to the state, 50% to Monmouth as an operator and 40% to purses. Those last two percentages could be off, as Crunk in his tweet notes, but they…

Fake Racing News? Talk to People

Yesterday we had an article about how great sports betting was at Monmouth, and how it was probably helping racing because handles were increasing. Crunktathol sent a tweet with some facts.
I ran the numbers *wrong*. Corrected numbers (it's a little confusing since MTH ran on Fridays in June last year). 6/16,17,23,24 of 2018 vs 6/17,18,23,25 of 2017. Handle +16% (+$368K) on 6 *more* races. Per race +2.6% (+$1.3K) on 96 *more* interests. Per interest -10.8% (-$769). — o_crunk (@o_crunk) June 26, 2018 It's good to get facts, if you're not so entrenched to accept them. Monmouth has been stuffing the entry box and not having a great result; before or after sports betting.

And notice he didn't make some cemented conclusion about the numbers, he just presented them. No one knows exactly what's going to happen with sports betting over the next few years.

That's the way open discussion is supposed to work.

Meanwhile, we saw a tweet today with someone sharing an opini…

Be Like Mike - PED Use in Racing is About the Least Surprising Part of it

Mike let fly on the twitter today --
I will never understand people who aren’t at least mildly wary of PED use in racing. After Ben Johnson, Bonds, McGwire, Clemens, Lance & the Sochi Olympics you still think what we are seeing is normal? And that’s dismissing the 7 sudden deaths. — Mike Adams (@GateToWire) June 20, 2018 Mike often talks about the past (and sometimes current) use of illegal drugs on horses in the sport. He gets worked up why some people believe everyone is as pure as the driven snow and would not risk performance enhancing for financial gain, while in other sports it's common.

Leaving aside any specific trainers, past or present, in the broadest sense, I think he makes a very good talking point.

In Scorecasting, the authors studied drug use in baseball from various angles. Although they concluded there are many reasons for using drugs in the sport, one stuck out - opportunity cost. If the player had little recourse in his life, he was more likely to use banne…

Horse Racing Attendance Facts,..... or Myths?

Monmouth was humming on Father's Day with attendance up over 5,000 from last year.  The prevailing reason given - and it makes sense since the lineups were long - was the introduction of sports betting.

With all those people with stuffed wallets looking to wager, it's supposed to be a good thing for horse racing (an on-track handle did have a little bump). But, overall handle was down over 28% per entry. 

Meanwhile, over at Churchill, Triple Crown winner Justify was paraded on Saturday. And it was reported the attendance - 21,053 - was through the roof to see him. However, on the same evening last year, the attendance was 20,669.

20,000 people at a hockey game is good. 20,000 people in the Arkansas Derby infield are a different kettle of fish. Their net worth is not from $100 seats; it comes from what they wager, and they don't wager much.

The 500 extra people (let's be generous and say it was 2,000) to see a Triple Crown winner at Churchill Saturday are, sadly, not wo…

Protectionism Doesn't Work in Horse Racing Either

Flipping on to twitter in this day and age and you'll see classical liberal economists up in arms about protectionism. It's not like they don't have a point; wealth is created when we do what we're best at. It's not 1930 anymore.

It's more than that, however, because protectionism breeds more protectionism, and this exacerbates the issue time and time again.

We saw some evidence of this just today, in horse racing.

Woodbine's Clay Horner wrote the following on Facebook:


This new protectionist race is in response to Donald Trump being a protectionist. 
But hold it, Donald Trump was complaining about Quebec farmers who are protected through a supply management subsidy and are allowed to charge Canadian consumers 270% more for milk and dairy products. (This despite a "free trade" agreement).
So, and such is the case with protectionist policies, we have a bit of a puzzle. 
Canadian farmers have protection, so someone outside the country complains and …

Restoring Hope & Discounting

The controversy (if you want to call it that) about the race riding in the Belmont has entered the mainstream press. This, unlike the 2016 Sword Dancer, happened with more mainstream coverage, so the industry finds itself having to talk about it. But make no mistake, they don't want to talk about it.

I have no strong opinion on the Belmont. Sure, maybe the horse was a blocker, but maybe he wasn't. It's not something we have not seen 1,000 times before, if he was. And the public knows that, because they believe - and its been ingrained to them in popular culture since forever - that in horse racing, funny stuff happens.

Although our left brain suggests to us that this presents a barrier to growth  - and it likely does - it's just the way it is. The public discounts this stuff for the most part. 
Flipping over to another situation:
I was just realizing what kind of repercussions this could have in a world in which the NBA is directly involved in sports betting in the US.…

This One Small Ruling Explains Why Betting "Integrity Fees" Are a Mugs Game

OMG! A trainer bet her own horse (hat tip to Peter) --
BONGIORNO, JENNIFER L MANALAPAN, NJ YOB 1990 Fhld on 11/18/2017 FINED: $350 IMPROPER BET Ms. Bongiorno placed 3 wagers to win on horses thet were trained by her.Nov. 18, ’18, $2.01 was wagered to MOONLIGHT RANSOM in the 4th race at Freehold Raceway. Jan. 12, ’18, $10.04 was wagered on ALGEBRA in the 2nd race at Freehold Raceway. Feb. 3, ’18, $10.01 was wagered on at Freehold Raceway. Although these wagers were made in compliance with N.J.A.C 13:71-2.4, the wagers were placed through Betfairs Exchange wagering platform. N.J.A.C 13:74c-4.10(C) prohibits trainers from wagering through the exchange on races in which they have horses competing. For the first violation, Ms. Bongiorno received a formal Warning. As a result of the second violation Ms. Bongiorno received a fine of $100. As a result of the third violation, Ms. Bongiorno received a fine of $250. Now, Jenn isn't exactly a master criminal, unless you think her betting $10 o…

Betfair, Gural - Smoke Em if You Got Em

Gural and Betfair pulled the trigger on a deal today where Betfair will provide infrastructure and know how for offering sports betting at both Tioga and the Big M. This comes on the heels of the NJ government voting unanimously to legalize this form of wagering at casinos and racetracks.

I suspect Tioga will take some time (sports betting is not passed in NY yet) but the Meadowlands should be up and running fairly soon, I would guess. And that's clearly the big prize. Its proximity to NYC has always been an edge - in fact, that was the edge that made slots so wanted for so many years.

How well this does or doesn't do is beyond me offering a logically strong guess, but I think it does have potential. Along with the previous geographical first mover advantage:

i) I had some dealings with Betfair (before the merger) and it struck me that their strength was in their technologies. They were always a tech company ahead of a betting company. That expertise is an asset, because betti…

Post Drags & Problematic Opportunities

Dave Briggs wrote an extensive piece about post dragging today. Dave, always a good interviewer, got various execs to open up about the practice, and it's well worth the read.

After reading it, Tom LaMarra on the twitter said, "it tells me there is no desire to fix the problem."

When I read it, I had a similar thought, but when I thought about it even more, they weren't talking about post dragging as a problem, but an opportunity.  This, I believe, happens more often than we like to think in horse racing.

Post drags, not a problem. It's not a problem that with them, scheduling races systematically and for maximum reach is virtually impossible; that an industry shares revenue from all bettors, so shuffling them around doesn't grow the pie, it splits it up differently; that it angers customers. It's 'we can make a little more handle than that track if we keep our clock on zero for forever.' Opportunity abounds!

This is nothing new. Takeout hikes in …

Beating the Leagues at Their Own Game

In this hyper-political world the great art of argument can get lost (just read some of the takes on the NFL Anthem thing today for evidence of that).  But, sometimes something pops up that makes you smile.

Today, Senator Steve Sweeney of New Jersey proved he's got some major chops.
Strong opposition to sports leagues' request for sports betting fees from @NJSenatePres: pic.twitter.com/ELwsCN8V1O — David Payne Purdum (@DavidPurdum) May 23, 2018 Arguments that involve a virtuous commodity are usually pretty difficult to combat, because if you come out against them you will be labelled as some sort of misanthrope (thanks Santa Anita).

Politico: "Children under 18 should be required to wear hockey helmets while walking the streets of New York. Data shows that severe head injuries will be cut in half."

Other Politico: "That's just dumb"

Politico: "What do you have against protecting our children?"

The sports leagues - smartly - have done similar …

Snap Trends are a Horseplayer's Bread and Butter, Other Betting, Pffft

Half my timeline went bonkers today. The GOP took over the lead, according to Reuters, in the generic congressional ballot polling. This is pretty shocking (although the trend has been better for them) because the D lead in such polling has been in the teens, at times, over the last six months. And everyone knows the party in power loses seats to a pretty stout degree in mid-terms.

With the medium term trends, and this tightening, we'd expect a big change in the wagering, correct? Well, no. The market didn't even move.

We see this often in political betting, or long-term sports betting, and it is a wonderful, perfectly rational anchor in an irrational topsy-turvy twitter world.

Political bettors know the trends matter, but cohort changes that drive polls and polling in general are rarely trends, and are most-often noise. This is not even counting the concept of discounting, where an Access Hollywood tape means little when the person on the tape is saying exactly what you think…

Ah, the NFL - Free Market Types, Until They're Not

We've spoken quite a bit about regulatory capture here on the blog. It's a relatively simple concept that has grown in importance over the last whatever years. I think we saw a little of this rear its head today (h/t to @racetrackandy), from the NFL Commissioner.

In "asking Congress" for betting regulation, Roger Goodell states four goals that are needed.

1. There must be substantial consumer protections;
2. Sports leagues can protect our content and intellectual property from those who attempt to steal or misuse it;
3. Fans will have access to official, reliable league data; and
4. Law enforcement will have the resources, monitoring and enforcement tools necessary to protect our fans and penalize bad actors here at home and abroad.

If you chuckled at a couple of those you aren't alone. I did too.

Leaving aside that current law, and its framework, takes care of most of these items (it's not like this hasn't been running in Vegas already, to the tune of $5…

Preakness

Preakness Day is done, and yes, ever since Kegasus was pushed off the infield urinal there's always a tinge of sadness about the day for us all. But Justify got the job done, thrilling the crowd (and Chris Kay).

There's quite a bit to chew on.

The weather was sad. And this always annoys me, because despite being an outsider that people on twitter who work inside the game block at times, I feel terrible for them. The work that goes into these days from our friends in the business ..... they deserve better.

Not sad was the handle.
Handle at PIM today not all that bad considering. Down 4.3% (-$4.3M) on 32 *fewer* betting interests. Per interest up 28.5% (+$223.5K). Handle on the Preakness itself up 2.9% (+$1.76M) despite 2 fewer horses this year. — o_crunk (@o_crunk) May 20, 2018 Big days are cray. People were firing it in on short fields that had more chalk than a crime scene at a Tarantino movie, but fire it in they did. I'm guilty, hey, it's Preakness Day.

I don…

The Dichotomy of Gambling Pricing

Good morning everyone.

I caught a tweet this morning which says:
.@WilliamHillUS plans to offer same lines, odds and betting menu in New Jersey as they do in Nevada. Betting will begin over the counter only, until gaming enforcement and legislature sets regulations for mobile wagering. — David Payne Purdum (@DavidPurdum) May 16, 2018
So, that seems to tell us New Jersey means business. Unlike jurisdictions with government run sports lotteries, like y'all from Ontario know all too well, there's no funny business with double the juice. William Hill and Monmouth are saying, "the odds you are used to - the odds which have been set by markets in the private (underground) economy for over a century -  are the prices we're setting."

Let's contrast this to Betfair when the betting exchange was made legal in Jersey.

There, after consultation with racing, the juice was set at 12%, or about double what the market said.

Even in Australia, where Betfair is licensed and co…

Breaking News via Cub Reporter - "Emergency Horse Racing Braintrust Meeting Called"

Cub Reporter never fails to amaze all of us.

The throwback part reporter part gumshoe, just texted with some huge breaking news.

"They're meeting right now." he said.

"Who?", I texted back.

"Magna, Churchill, Chris Kay, Daruty, even people from California who never come to these things", he said.

According to Cub (not his real name) the recently released Robinson Cano news has them spooked. As most know by now, the Seattle Mariners player was suspended for testing positive for lasix.

"Everyone is freaking out. They think that if word gets around that like 99% of race horses use lasix, all hell will break loose. They're trying to build some sort of plan for Preakness Day, where upwards of 9 million people will be watching," Cub reported.

"Right now they're batting around a few ideas. One of the horseplayers invited said it was best if everyone is transparent, but he was immediately asked to leave," Cub relayed.

"Current…

Legal Sports Betting Brings Out Some Serious Hot Takes

Legal sports betting is upon us, as the Supreme Court says (this is not high-level legal analysis, I just bet horses) the old laws were bad, and because they were bad, they are kind of moot now.

The reaction to this has been, well, pretty interesting.

The first reaction, and we've seen this before, was "OMG everyone is going to be rich!".

We all get that the underground gambling economy is murky, but everyone - the feds, state governments, casino companies - is a lot of people splitting up a pie that no one knows the size of.

As Crunk's tweetstorm points out, the only thing that's assured is these revenue calculations are going to be incorrect. It's not a question of if, it's only a question of by how much.

The second reaction is from some in the sport of racing. There's a giddiness (and this could come from reaction one) that from all this money (OMG!) a bunch of it will filter back into horse racing purses. I get that ADW's might hop aboard, rac…

Horse Racing Wants to be "Mainstream"

We've all seen Mckinsey reports, the cash spend by the Jockey Club on social media and various forms of outreach; the big day push; NYRA and others spending a lot of money on televising big races, including many from the Saratoga meet.

All of that hard work, and that monetary and time outlay is to fulfill a wish for racing to become mainstream - to be noticed; to be like baseball or football or other pastimes.

The problem with that, as we see this week, is that it's not built to be noticed. And, frankly, I am not sure if some people even want it to be.

Bob Baffert did his duty on Sunday. He - underappreciated, in my view, for the time he spent with the public and media with American Pharoah to push the sport - wanted to bring his Derby winner out to show the world. Then things got messy.

The public saw the horse, wondered why he was walking lame, and received no information from the media on hand, and little from the trainer. That somehow morphed into stories about foot bruise…

Twinspires Spends Some Money, But Is 2005 the Better Way?

I watched a little of the NBC coverage on Saturday; not because I wanted to, but because my ADW feed didn't just buffer like it was 1996, it functioned like it was 1986.

While watching that coverage I noticed the horseplaying information given was amazing Twinspires doing a heavy bit of advertising. This is smart business of course. They're using their strong brand and a network telecast seen by upwards of 15 million people to push their in-house product.

Not being privy to how many people signed up, but doing a little speculation, let's say the number of newbies - at Derby parties, watching alone at home or elsewhere - that were enticed to sign up and fund their account was formidable.

Let's also assume each single person deposited say $100 to try the service, and at Derby parties the hat got passed around to bet the big race, resulting in even a bigger bankroll.

Then let's assume that each person bet their bankrolls during the day - like normal bettors did - and c…

Dink - "Proper Gambling is More Important Than Proper Handicapping"

Dink's semi-annual twitter proclamation was proclaimed today.
I post this often but have not for a long time............ PROPER GAMBLING IS SO MUCH MORE IMPORTANT THAN PROPER HANDICAPPING — alan (@dinkinc) May 8, 2018 Although it's never that simple, he makes a good point.

As humans we are blessed with some amazing tools. We can analyze thousands of pieces of data and come up with a conclusion. But, as humans we're also cursed with biases that can really hurt us. One of them is, a lot of us can't grasp the concept of chance.

Let's look at a game of coin flip. Most of us would think getting a long run of continuous heads or tails is something that can't happen, because of chance. In fact, 50% of the time you will get a run of 10 consecutive heads (or tails) if you flip a coin 710 times.

If you told someone you picked a pick 6 lotto ticket with the numbers 111111 or 22222 they'd look at you like you have six heads, when in fact the odds of that coming in ar…

Kentucky Derby Handle Up, Viewership Down. Does it Mean Anything?

The news is in, and Derby Day handle was up about 8%, with television ratings down about 13%.

Although there's a want to wax on about this apparent dichotomy, I don't think we have to.

Derby business - in fact, any big day business - has seen a strong increase in handle over the last half dozen years. I know a lot of people don't put much stock in branding (and often I agree), but branding big days might not work the first year, or the second, or even the third. But it does work. Your average bettor, big bettor, and bettors who have sat on the sidelines for some time all seem to download and play the big cards in big numbers. It has become a conditioned response, not unlike what we see from the underlying pick 4's and 5's across the sport. These serial bets (some very low takeout compared to others) have branded themselves, as well. We're at the point  where, "I don't really like anything, but I took a 50 cent pick 5," is a common phrase. On big d…

Churchill Downs Inc Denies Local Nun Derby Access

Just when you thought it could not get any worse.

"I don't know what happened," says Sister Martha, of St. Patrick's Church in west Louisville. "They just called and said I would not be able to attend the Derby this year."

Sister Martha, as most know, shows up at the Derby each year, selling roses on behalf of the under-privileged children of Greater Louisville. Although she usually raised only $20 or $30, this tradition dates back over 70 years.


"I've been doing this since I was 25. I never had a problem before," she said. "I saw that nice Secretariat man got in trouble that one year, and I saw the news on the Brad Cummings Report that the lovely young and talented Caton Bredar had her credentials revoked, but I didn't think it could happen to me."

Sister Martha says she feels most upset for the children.

"They've done nothing wrong. It's sad," she said.

A Churchill spokesman, on condition of anonymity said alt…

Racing's Power Brokers & the Uncanny Valley

The "Uncanny Valley" was a concept first coined in the early 1970's by a Japanese robot maker.

He noticed that when robots are clearly robots, they're embraced by the public, as cute or neat, or interesting. As the robot becomes closer and closer to lifelike, however, it reaches a point where it becomes repulsive.

This reaction was noticed (and talked about in Newton's Football) when the producers of Shrek focused group different types of animation to children. While the kids laughed happily while shown type after type of animation, one iteration caused them to instantly change the smiles to literal screams. That iteration was so lifelike it was considered so creepy it scared them. The producers immediately scrapped that version, went to the older one, never wavered by pushing the envelope too far, and made a pile of money.

This uncanny valley - the point where we become too uncomfortable with something - is seen in other mediums as well.

Back in 1905, Teddy Roo…

Are Judges & Stews Biased For the Big Barns & the Chalk?

Good morning everyone.

Tobias Moskowitz is a Yale professor, and he's looked at some interesting data about bias in pro sports officiating.

In general, he's concluded that there is a bias towards primarily the home team, but also for other teams when they're the team that's expected to win, or a subtle bias for a team that a league might want to win a game.

One famous way this was illustrated was in major league baseball. Historically, for the home team, strikes and balls were called differently at crunch time. The home team had an edge, both hitting and pitching, and this subtle difference resulted in an extra 7.3 runs per season. This might not sound like much, but home teams outscore visitors by about 10.5 runs per season. In effect, he concludes about 70% of the home field advantage can be explained by the home plate umpire's bias.

Technology changed a lot of this of course, although it proved a supposition at the same time. Questec - the ball and strike technol…

Give Bettors the Goods, Monday Notes

Good day everyone!

"Walk a mile in someone's shoes." It's sound advice. When you do, you have a respect for what they do, how they think, and your understanding about an assorted issue tends to grow.

In race 7 tonight at Woodbine/Mohawk, there's a horse with a 5-2 morning line that looks pretty good. But he's been off since March 8th.

Unlike the thoroughbreds, where a six week break is modelable and a horse may have listed workouts to make an informed opinion, in harness you're completely in the dark.

Because these horses need to race frequently to stay in form, this horse is a total coin flip. He could be 50-1 fair odds, or he could be 5-2. There's no trainer data. No one publicly knows. Even the track handicapper said "It's a guess."

This is the last leg of a pick 4, which will garner about $50 of $60,000 of handle. Casual players might say they'll spread to be safe, but at 25% juice they're getting their heads handed to them. …

No Matter What You Hear, or What the Sports Leagues Profess - Gambling Has Always Been Perfectly Acceptable

I think, with lotteries, slots, and Vegas, we can concede gambling is pretty mainstream. But for some reason when we talk about sports betting it is anything but. There's still - even though it will likely be legalized soon - a stigma that surrounds it. Hell, if you listen to some of the sports leagues, it's like the world will end.

That, in my view, simply is not reality, and never has been reality.

Let me share a little story.

Back in the 70's, my cousin Doug couldn't find work in Southern Ontario where he lived, so he came up north and landed a job at the mines. Needing a place to stay, he lived with us.

Doug worked in the ball mill and it was not exactly mentally stimulating, so he had a lot of time to think. He had bet some sports with a bookie in his town, and decided he should try something along those same lines to try and make a little scratch.

Doug thought that rather than offering single games with large bet sizes where he'd be chasing people all day to …

Derby Prep Mental Gymnastics, Driving to Win, Handle Questions

Good Monday everyone.

Two Derby preps were run this weekend, the biggest one of the bunch in terms of interest, at Santa Anita, with buzz horse Justify proving his mettle in California, beating the very talented Bolt d'Oro quite handily.

I was most interested to note that when Bolt was asked, he couldn't even get to the Justify tail. I really think he didn't want much to do with that horse.

It was an interesting race to analyze, and twitterites seemed to be going through the usual machinations that surround each and every Derby prep.

Was the final number good? It appears to be. 

Was Bolt d'Oro bouncing some off his last taxing effort, where the trainer noted he was dead tired, and he didn't show his best fastball? Maybe.

Was the margin back to third and fourth enough to say those two, who are considered Derby major Derby contenders, ran a formful race? Probably, although maybe you could reasonably think they should have opened a bit more daylight.

I think it's …

Notes, Usability & Access (of Derby Pools) & Pari-Mutuel Reality

Good day everyone.

There's been a lot of chatter about sports betting of late. The if's, how's and why's of it in terms of horse racing were waxed upon here.

Knowing that horse racing (any gambling game) has two or more sets of customers, the article looks at how the seasoned professional types (like Charlie) will respond to sports betting at racetracks, or ADW's. For the more casual but extremely dedicated player, a snapshot of a poll on Paceadvantage.com provided a look into that side of the game.

While larger players like Charlie could massively pivot into legal sports wagering, smaller players who love racing tend to be more mixed (50% won't play sports, 50% will play at least some). I think this confirms what most of us would believe.

As always, it depends on the juice, availability etc, and from what we've seen from governments in North America in the past with gambling, a positive business environment for customers is in no way assured. It remains a …

Big Racing Competition & The "Lottery" Bet

Good Monday everyone. Here are a couple items that I'd like to share with you.

Ah, it appears we've got some competition coming. Sports betting - at racetracks, online, and perhaps their own stand -alone shops might be happening soon.

We know in the past that slot machines and table games on racetrack grounds resulted in an approximate 20% drop in live handle (those numbers could be a little apple to grapefruity, but they're probably close).

If you're an old timer, perhaps you remember going to Belmont in the 1940's, where on-track on Memorial Day $5M was bet (about $60M today), and per capita handle was $77 (almost $1,000 today). Today, as we all know, a formidable amount of money is bet, but about 90% of it is off track, and on-track per capita - as we saw at Sunland Park yesterday for their big raceday - is about $20. It's not the only game in town.

Competition clearly matters. So, what could sports betting do to racing handles? Since we don't know what …

Being Nimble. For Racing it's Harder Than it Should Be

I was perusing the betting news this morning and saw this about Draft Kings and Fanduel innovating their offerings to customers.

"After testing the legal fencework, DFS operators have been on an innovation blitz over the last year or so. FanDuel created a whole division, FanDuel Labs, which is charged with developing new formats and game types. It’s been busy, too, rolling out ideas on a near-weekly schedule, it seems."

Innovating by offering new contests, new games, different formats and new technologies is nothing new in gambling over the web. But what is striking is the ease in which these companies can be nimble. It's essential to most businesses on the web, but certainly so in gambling.

Meanwhile, I read an article at the Washington Post by the always interesting Megan McArdle. She looked at a completely different phenomenon - changes in a product via slow rolling incrementalism; in this case, motor vehicles.

"For one thing, regular old-fashioned cars were non…