Clowns to the Left of Me, Jokers to the Right

New York passed a daily fantasy sports bill this week, but it was a little more than that. It also, at the behest of one legislator (at likely the behest of you know who - old time racing), eliminated horse racing contest players
  •  "I could see a horseplayer going to a fantasy site and playing there because they're real horses, real jockeys, real tracks, and doing whatever handicapping they're going to do there. It would take away from the pari-mutuel handle."
The studies cited by this pol, showing that this happens and was the correct move, are absent. Because they don't exist.

But, using a little common sense, or actually  talking to customers, you can learn something.

Contest play is a staple for some, just like exchange play is for others. More conduits you have - more ways to play the sport - the more people you have looking at your product. And when people are looking at your product, it's a gateway to lifetime revenue.

This past weekend there was a "contest" at Del Mar. It attracted 140 or so players, all there for one reason - to win the contest, and to get invited to another contest, the Breeders Cup Betting Challenge. One of my friends flew in from Seattle for it. Another from half way across the country.

The bankroll for this event - to be bet into the pools - was $5,000. So, at Del Mar, $700,000 of bankroll on a Saturday and Sunday were churned right into the pools, because of a contest. If each player rolled the bankroll over three times, over $2 million was bet, at 21% boat. Del Mar got back about $400,000 of revenue.

If this "contest" wasn't around, some of these players might've taken the day off. They might be long gone from betting horse racing, because they found something better to do with their time. Instead, they were engaged, handicapping, betting, and promoting the sport to others.

Contests - big or small, online or real money - are an important ecosystem for horse racing. At a very small cost. 

I don't have a clue why this sport thinks that eliminating people from engaging and playing your product is a good policy. Seriously, what business that is dependent on high volume and velocity  - or any business really - has grown with fewer customers? But time and time again, whether it be with takeout hikes, blocking signals, or trying to shut down games or sites which promote the sport and keep people engaged, they continually lean on this policy.

With handle down 40% or 50% in real terms, you'd think they'd try something new, wouldn't you?

Enjoy your Friday everyone.

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