Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Grassroots Movements from Players

It has been tried before, Rich Bauer of did it with Magna. It's horseplayers standing up for issues important to them.

John Pricci at horseraceinsder is trying to stir the pot. In his blog this week he is trying to organize something - anything - to get the tracks to notice the player again. His ideas? Organize a boycott, bus trips, demonstrations, or anything else horseplayers can think of to get a few things noticed. In general, some of the issues bandied about so far are:

1. Reduced Takeouts. Players out there have been complaining that the business charges too much. 30% rakes at some tracks, for some bets. Poker, sports betting, betting exchanges and all the rest charge much less. Vegas charges much less. Racing has been charging ostensibly the same prices since pari mutuel wagering was invented well over 100 years ago.

2. Medication Reform. Players know all too well some of the problems we see on a daily basis with regards to performance enhancing drugs. Time and time again we hear comments like "throw the past performances out the window and just bet trainers". Time and time again we see infractions by these type trainers, and nothing seems to happen. They slide their stock to an assistant, or are back training after a little holiday. Players want to see their hard-earned money respected. They are getting tired of it.

3. ADW Reform. Too many internet sites. Residency requirements. Tracks and/or governments charging "extra" for common pooling. Outdated regulations. The list seems almost endless. Players are not happy in having to possess several accounts because all tracks are not carried simply for the privilege to give them money . This issue had some serious play at in August. It got some attention for its "procott" which helped raise handles at a couple of tracks. One of which, ALB, had off track wagering go up by 78.6% due to their efforts.

Mr. Pricci is calling on players of all stripes. Whales, $2 bettors, fans. It doesn't seem to matter.

With his media connections and his passion, I would not bet against him in getting something done. If I were the tracks and industry leaders, I would not ignore this man. Why they would not be working their collective butts off to clear up these issues is beyond me in the first place. I have worked and consulted with hundreds of companies. Every shred of my work focuses solely on attracting and pleasing customers. It's second nature and I believe racing should have addressed these issues decades ago.

It will be interesting to see what comes out of this, if anything. Regardless, he has my support. This sport can not grow to compete with other gambling games unless its pricing and salient player-centric issues like the above are addressed. It's time.

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