Monday, July 27, 2009

Slots, Rakes and Bare Midriffs

A plea from a lobbyist in New Jersey to turn the Meadowlands into a racino.

...... convert The Meadowlands Racetrack into a racino. Let the casinos run the track. Offer both racing and machine play. Take a portion of the revenues generated and allocate it to racing and breeding. Take the remaining dollars and split it between the casino operators and the state.

For once..... just once I would love someone in this business say "take the portion of the revenues and allocate it to racing and breeding and lowering takeout so we can keep horseplayers interested in Jersey racing"

Further a rally is held for slots at Aqueduct in the New York state capital.

Placing VLTs at the Aqueduct track creates money for the state, for education and the thoroughbred industry.

Cool. More money for everyone but the horseplayer.

Then again, slots work wonders to grow handle and interest in racing, right? Whoops, maybe not. Racinos in New Mexico want to slash 28 race dates due to falling demand for wagering.

I am all for getting some cash from government, but hell, when the people who are asking for it are proposing the same thing over and over again which will end up failing, I have no use for the machines, or them.

h/t to Equidaily and the Paulick Report for the above.

On to racing: View From the Grandstand discusses the fair start rule, and how if the Maple Leaf Trot was held in another jurisdiction, punters would not have gotten their money back.

Takeout discussions at HANA, in response to a couple of pieces out there on takeout.

When a lottery's takeout is lower than some superfecta takeouts in racing, I think we can all agree that we have a serious problem.

Irish columnist lets fly on drug use in racing, especially here across the pond.

Things have descended so far in the States that Hall of Fame trainer Jack Van Berg told a congressional subcommittee in June last year that training horses had become "chemical warfare". Arthur Hancock, a fourth generation owner/breeder, said that after routinely receiving medical bills for more than $1,000 per horse he told his vet to give his horses drugs only when they were sick. "You want to win races, don't you, Arthur?" Hancock said the vet replied.

The writer parallels drug use in cycling racing and horse racing. In one paragraph, I found an interesting tidbit that I was unaware of, although I follow the sport:

However, when Belgian sports physiotherapist Willy Voet was discovered by police in 1998 with a car full of drugs that included cocaine, heroin and amphetamines -- it was all downhill from there with scandal following scandal repulsing especially the newer and less tolerant audiences in Germany, the US and Japan. To use drugs was now seen as getting a lift up the Mont Ventoux. This year girls with bare midriffs ironically line the route with the letters E-P-O painted on their bellies. Soon they won't even bother to show. Average TV audiences in the important markets have halved since 1998.

Thank god that was for a bike race. If my local racetrackers painted letters on their exposed guts I don't think it would do a whole lot for promotion.

My funny for the day was Ray Paulick who linked to Vic Zast's piece on how reporting on racing on the internet by bloggers and others is 'nothing meaningful'. Ray's hyperlink was "Zast upset about transition to the web...written on his website".

I am sensing a little sarcasm in that :)


That Blog Guy said...

Well Mr. Zast obviously the experts who write for traditional media obvoiusly have no influence; can we do any worse with bloggers. I would argue those in the traditional media are for the most part in bed with the traditionalists who got racing in the crapper in the first place.

The reason legistlators don't ever legislate a percentage of the slot revenue go towards reducing the take out is that they consider horseplayers (and admittingly slot players) degenerate gamblers and as far as they are concerned there is nothing wrong with soaking the degenerates.

Tracks don't care because they get their slots and they make their money. Horsemen don't care because all they see is slot money and a lot of them figure it is a matter of time until they lose the slot revenue so as far as they are concerned, let's get it while we can because down the road it is going to be gone.

The bottom line is no one wants to give up a dime to give the gamblers a dime.

Glenn Craven said...

What, "bare midriffs" in a headline and no pictures?

Pull the Pocket said...

Damn Glenn, good point! :)

I could only find some pictures of people dressed up like syringes at the Tour. I added one just for you. No midriffs tho.


The_Knight_Sky said...

Pull the Pocket wrote:

For once..... just once I would love someone in this business say "take the portion of the revenues and allocate it to racing and breeding and lowering takeout so we can keep horseplayers interested in Jersey racing"

A push towards lowering of the takeouts to 10-12% will go much farther for horse racing.

That will create a new segment of winning horseplayers. The type of customers who will come back to horse racing long after the novelty of slots has worn off in two or three years.

That Blog Guy said...

Groups like HANA are doing good talking to the tracks but perhaps there would be value in talking to government officials directly and let them know that priming the pump (lowering the takeout) will make the state more money in the long run thanks to the churn. Then perhaps we can get it added to the legislation.

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