There's An App For That

When we think of horse racing lotteries it begins and ends with the V75 in Sweden. The V75 is a pick 7 which runs each Saturday, with a ten cent minimum play. The bets are sold in convenience stores, online, or at racetracks. When carried-over, the pools can be greater than $30 million.

What Sweden possesses to get this type of wagering implemented is an organization that mends pari-mutuel horse wagering and the gambling system. All forms of betting fall under the authority of the government's Lotteri Inspektionen. Under this is AB Trav och Galopp (ATG) which manages Sweden's horse racing industry and is responsible for the Swedish Horse Racing Totalisator, along with Svenska Spel which has control of all other sports gambling.

What's interesting about this structure is that it runs fairly smoothly, when it comes to promotion. I was on Google Play last night looking for Android racing apps, and came across the app for the V75. 

The app contains video replays, analysis of the V75, driver and trainer and horse profiles and a bunch more. It also introduces newbies to Swedish Harness Racing. In Android the app shows "over 10,000 downloads" since November of 2012. That doesn't include the iPad app downloads, I believe. This in a country smaller than Metro Toronto.

In North America there are a couple of good horse racing apps. Ken McPeek's "Horse Racing Now" is a nice piece of work. Equibase's app is really, really good, too. But where the Swedish app has everything under one umbrella, because of their structure as the horse racing "commissioner" in that country, the North American apps do not.

The Equibase app has a disclaimer at the bottom of their app description:

"Purchase is required for replays and handicapping products"

Ken McPeek's introduction at google play says:

"Streaming live video from participating racetracks"

It's not that those apps are bad - they're not, they're excellent. It's not that I begrudge anyone making money on something either. I've never been known as Pocket Marx. It's just that everytime we turn around, there seems to be customer limitations or caveats on something racing offers.

A horse racing lottery is probably a long way off in North America. But even if the legislation passed, it makes me wonder. Unlike Sweden where the goal is to promote racing and make the V75 bet work, would TVG be fighting HRTV to show the lottery races? Would Magna have their own app for their four races of the lottery sequence, and Churchill for the other four, just to mess up customers? Would Equibase's lottery app allow for free past performances, replays and video for the lottery races, or send people to a website to pay for them? Would the races be placed behind a paywall on youtube, or scraped off for copyright infringement?

I don't know. Maybe I need an app for that.

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