"Into the Abyss with Arrogance"

Over the years, here on the blog and elsewhere, we've shared our concerns regarding the moribund state of the sport, particularly on the demand side. And, over the last few days I was again reminded of Multiracewagers' post here at the blog (one of the most popular posts in terms of traffic over the last year) about why he left racing for other pursuits.

"..... the absurdly poor treatment of customers is the reason I want absolutely zero to do with the sport including this twitter handle. At the end of the day, I hope you have enjoyed my unfiltered takes on the industry as it barrels headfirst into the abyss with unfounded arrogance."

Harsh words, but I don't think I'd find too many on this side of the betting terminal who disagrees with that take.

Arrogance.

We've always had a chuckle about the racetrack executive who defends high takeout rates in the guise of walking the grandstand, with the fact that no one he speaks with "seems concerned about it". This, of course, contrary to the proper lens - a sport which has lost so many customers because of high takeout means they aren't in the grandstand anymore.

More recently, I've spoken to many in the business about qualifier rules being shuttered in Ontario, announced yesterday, and talked about in Sturman's column awhile ago. I can summarize most of these discussions as "what are you crying about", with no realization that i) we don't have many bettors left and ii) we don't have many left, precisely because of things like this.

We speak to many inside the hallowed walls of racing who shout "INTEGRITY!", but only when it comes to testing, or racing rules that directly affect participants. When it comes to the "INTEGRITY!" of the gambling portion - like in this case with the lack of a charted line in a past performance - it becomes an aside.

When a restaurant owner says "I walk around my place and people love my food" when people, in fact, don't really love his food, there's a consequence. The place of business is 40% full, then 20% full (the internal polling stays great even as sample size falls) then it closes down. As someone who has tried and failed with several ventures and ideas, I can tell you, losing a business breeds humility, not arrogance.

Arrogance happens when you have, well, something like horse racing. If customers leave, as they have, it has government backing (like $200M in Ontario has); it has slots. It's easy to not pay attention to customers when you don't depend on them.

But, in my view, despite that, the callous way you're treated is something that really surprises me. It's beyond arrogance. It's a dismissal. It's like you're not even there. You don't exist.

And the sport has the gall to wonder why you left? Wondering why you're writing guest posts on a gambling blog?

I can't say I am quite as pessimistic as Multiracewagers is, but I'll leave you with his last words.

"I am fortunate to have found my lifeboat to get off the sinking ship. Good luck finding your lifeboat, the time you will need it is quickly approaching."

I don't blame each and every one of you who still read the blog who have left the sport for greener pastures. You've been dismissed and marginalized and ignored, but you've been ahead of the curve.

Have a nice Thursday everyone.


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