Anyhoo, here are some things that caught my eye today.
Fantastic piece linked by Scott Ferguson (I saw it on Dan's twitter feed) about Betfair. The betting business is a business and needs to be treated as such, or we'll be racing for ribbons. It's nice to see someone speak plainly about it.
A few snips.
On traditional bookies and old racing trying to get them to pay more than them (with a narrative that really isn't valid, like we see often in North America with ADW's):
- Betfair has revolutionised betting but its effect on the
on-course market has squeezed margins – good for punters but bad for
racing, with its income based on gross profits. Do you have any sympathy
with the view that Betfair should pay more to UK racing?
There is no evidence that margins have been affected. That was the finding of the Donoughue Commission which looked into starting prices. Even the traditional bookmakers no longer say that margins have been affected in any material way. Do I have any sympathy with the view that we should pay more to UK racing? Absolutely not. We pay effectively the levy on 10.75% of our gross profits on British horseracing like every other bookmaker.
- I’m afraid that sort of thinking is consistent with the idea that racing doesn’t have to compete. The fact is you have to look after the owner – and there are 65% of owners whose horses never see the winner’s enclosure. It is vital that the bread and butter owner has a chance of a big payday.
- We support Champions’ Day at Ascot and believe premier racing is vital for the industry. But if you do that to the exclusion of the smaller owner then you do so at your peril. You should bear in mind that over 50% of prize-money goes to about 30 people. The industry is benefited by ownership from the many thousands beneath those 30 people.
- California was the first state to introduce drug testing on racehorses. Funnily enough, there were positive examples, so people said therefore California was responsible for doping in horseracing. The recent corruption case demonstrates that we have been the only company to share specific account information and details to help police the sport. The idea that corruption in horseracing started when we arrived in 2000 is ridiculous.
Hoof Beats published the trackmaster speed ratings for three year old pacers in their last issue. As we know, Stan's experimental ratings were rightfully retired with his passing. It was a good report. I do disagree on who was chosen first in the TM ratings, however. I thought Sweet Lou said game, set and match in the BC Final.
Big M goes guarantee on Friday for the pick 5.
Balmoral's handles keep growing. Give this track a look for their 15% pick 4. The pools are huge.
Ahh, the sweet smell of protecting racing video's.
Free data from Bloomberg. Amazing. h/t to O_crunk
This week - writing about Luck and Marketing for HRU. If you haven't signed up for HRU in your inbox, it's free.
I always like going through Horse of the Year votes, or others, to see what goofy things were voted on. Monkey on My Wheel and Up the Credit got votes over San Pail.
Prix' D'amerique. Loved the fun, loved the gelding in the stars and stripes, loved the hype. Cool video.
Roger Way, a tireless horseplayer advocate and monster racing fan, passed away yesterday. It always amazes me that (he was 75) horse racing gets so in your blood that you are working today to change it, when we're likely not here to see the results of the change. I spoke with Roger several times and he always struck me as a kind, kind man. Rest in peace.