Lottery "Integration", Things are Better Off in the Backwoods & Friday Notes

I don't blame you for reading this press release from the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp and shrugging your shoulders.

"The horse racing industry in Ontario is being asked to provide input on a long-term financial model with respect to the ongoing integration and modernization of gaming in Ontario.

Rigby's letter notes that OLG is "developing a co-branding marketing strategy" that involves the launch of "horse-themed products through our Lottery and Internet business channels." He went on to state that the next area of focus for horse racing's integration within the province's gaming strategy is developing "a financial model to provide a long-term funding framework," exploring options and avenues "that help create economic confidence in a transparent and accountable way, beyond 2019."

Rigby noted that he has discussed this focus with Cal Bricker, OLG's Senior Vice President of Horse Racing, and has asked him to lead "a collaborative discussion on this subject with [OHRIA's] help, and members of the industry."

The integration between horse racing and the provincial lottery has been spoken about for years now. The government is now funding horse racing, as you know, so they (more or less) control the discussion, and like with most things of this ilk, it can move at a snail's pace.

The idea in itself is not bad, in my view, if done with some sort of understanding who the different customers are.

A lottery based on the V75 is a good idea (similar to the Equilottery concept) that should be tried for that end of the market - big pools attract dollars world wide, as we see with the Scoop Six or Super High Five mandatory payouts. Meanwhile, the ADW market and takeout rates for everyday bettors is, well, terrible. Small tracks with 24% win takeouts, an ADW monopoly run by a big behemoth, well, ouch, that's a non-starter that no one seems to want to talk about. The OLG will have little control over that, so that black mark is owned by horse racing.

In the US there is a push for outside groups, in this case an NGO like USADA, to take the reins of testing. In principle the idea is good, and uniform rules and regulations will occur faster and with more power than without USADA. However, as we see in Ontario, there will likely be many bumps in the road, and nothing will change overnight.

Things are better in the backwoods.....

Nevada "outlawed" DFS yesterday because they say (duh) it's gambling. That statement is funny at its core, when you think about it. Regardless, people in Nevada can go bet a game this weekend, but they can't field a team on their iPhones.

You and I have been playing "DFS" for a long time. Me, since about 1991. We field a team each week, play others in our league, and whomever has the best week wins a weekly prize from our stakes. When it was brought out into the open, over the internet through a loophole in the UIGEA, everything was fine, for awhile. Now, it's not fine.

Everything to do with participatory sports, from office pools, NCAA brackets filled out by commander in chief's on TV,  fantasy sports, e-sports, and everything else, is gambling. It always will be and always has been.  When someone uses a loophole that tells them it isn't gambling, and invests millions to innovate and create a market for it, that's okay too - until it gets popular.  Then government folks seem to say "nice innovation and nice investment, nice job building a customer base, nice success story, but we want a do over. We were just kidding, it's gambling."

We see this in racing (anti-bleeder tactics like keeping water away, Kentucky Red etc are fine, if no one sees them...... add lasix then things aren't fine), too. We see this with exchange wagering (still waiting to be approved after like a dozen years).

Things for fantasy enthusiasts are probably better in the backwoods - despite the obvious flaws - because regulators, the media, right wing types and everyone else with an axe to grind or a budget to fill, have nothing to gain when it is. 


The Breeders' Crown eliminations are off and pacing and trotting on Saturday evening at Woodbine.  Here's a free program. The Breeders' Crown is the poor cousin to the Cup, but it is one of those events that are well-worth watching. As well, there will be a $500k or so mandatory super high five payout next weekend during the final crown card.

Freaky Feet Pete continues to try his hand at respect, by entering the Crown. He's a fantastic horse and I hope he does well.

Woodbine's 15% pick 5 keeps paying out well. If you can snag a horse or two that's not obvious it can pay. With a 20 cent minimum, pick 4's are a mugs game, pick 5's are much better (for harness favorite hit rates, certainly.)

The Breeders Cup seems to be ratcheting up the buzz. Everyone hopes it does well at Keeneland, because like you, I agree this thing can be fun when it moves around.

Have a nice weekend everyone.


Pull the Pocket said...

Sorry Ron. I accidentally deleted your comment. My Bad!

nishat.rafi said...



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