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Showing posts from May, 2018

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: — 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 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.


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…