Monday, March 1, 2010

Improving Info, Takeout Simulations and .... Women's Curling

Muscle Hill, to nobody's surprise, wins the Dan Patch Award for Horse of the Year. I am having trouble believing it was not a sweep in the voting.

"To grow a company you need to be good at killing things" says a business blog. A lesson for racing, no doubt. If OTB's don't work, try something that does. If your track is filled with 4 claimers that no one wants to bet, try something new. Kill the dead weight, and spend on the ROI neutral or positive items in your business.

The Meadowlands is adding driver choice graphics to their simulcast. As most know, drivers are sometimes down on two or three horses, and they choose. Although this is a very good thing I find drivers make the wrong choices many times, so adding this to your handicapping as a potential overbet angle might be a good idea. Regardless, we have yet another data point to help us in our betting and the Meadowlands should be commended.

Autochart, is a real time charting and tracking service offered to harness racing. Let's get that data out there in an API and not hold back. Someone will do something with it.

Tampa Bay Downs about four years ago started lowering their takeout each year to try and build a brand. It appears they have been doing some good. On Saturday, with a couple major tracks closed due to weather, their handle reached the 5th highest in history - $7.5M. In particular they dropped their horizontal takes in the pick 3 and pick 4. I find people have a hard time understanding takeout reductions and what they do, but the HANA site had a decent simulation of the old takeout versus the new takeout and what it means to revenues and the horseplayer.

Player A plays $24 pick 3's at Tampa at the new low takeout. He is a losing player and gets $110 back for each $120 bet in the pick 3's.

Player B plays at a track those same pick 3's in $24 bets, but at this track, the pick 3's have a 25% takeout.

What happens?

Player "A" at Tampa with the local rebate and lower takeout bets $118.50 for a return of $110, therefore experiencing bankroll shrinkage of $8.50 for each 5 bet sequence. Player "B" bets a full $120 for a return of $101.85 @ a 25% rake therefore loses $18.15 for each 5 bet sequence.

The Tampa player can churn $2808 (118 bets) before hitting ruin. Player "B" at the high takeout track will churn $1320 (55 bets) before going broke. The track nets $491.40 from player "A" (17.5% of $2808) and $330.00 from player "B" (25% of 1320).

This is a lesson that seems to be lost on many in racing. Bettors do not change their behaviour overnight. It takes time, and churn acts silently. I hope the folks at Balmoral who just went to a low take pick 4 give it time. It does not matter if the pick 4 pools themselves grow, it matters that by giving bettors more cash back on that bet, and having them rebet it, helps your business.

There is a really nice homemade promo for the upcoming race for Rachel and Zenyatta on youtube; it's below.

What's up with Woodbine chalk this season? About 66% are hitting the board, which is down, and chalk is winning at thoroughbred levels - around 33%. I think this is the lowest hit rate I have seen for chalk at Woodbine.

Last up - women's curling. Yes, women's curling, which is not a huge topic on the blog. On Friday team Canada was playing Sweden and I was watching the in-play odds at Betfair. Going into the last end the Canadian team had the lead and were trading at around 1.08 to win. The problem with that is, in that situation the leading team still loses the game over 20% of the time. Some sharp players must have realized that and scooped up as much as they could.

During the end Canada seemed to be in good shape, although they were really not. The team traded over US$110,000 at 1.01. That means people were betting $100 to win a dollar. But a funny thing happened, they lost. If someone layed that $110,000, they cashed for an $1100 outlay.

Who says you can't make money at curling?

1 comment:

Robin Howlett said...

Good post. Thanks for the pointer towards AutoChart - I'd never heard of that software before.

I've a technology and racing blog called and I've developed visualization software for thoroughbred horse racing that uses chart data to drive it.

You can check it out here:

Cheers! Robin

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