Racing's Betting Customer Professionalism

The TDN has a series going about what racing can do to attract more gamblers of all stripes. Yesterday, Brian DiDonato gave his take. It's here and I encourage you to read his ideas. 

Brian's ideas have a common theme, in my view: Business professionalism.

Let's take his idea about "regulating workout information" as an example. If you look at the vital lines of data on workouts there's a good chance you're looking at some fantasy. There are workouts that are charted wrong; timed wrong; wrong horses are tabbed with wrong workouts; in some cases (like in Louisiana) workouts are not even charted.

Here's a MSW with eight FTS's - please give me your money!

Try that kind of thing on Wall Street with information dissemination; you'll end up rooming with Bernie Madoff.

The above statement, however, is simply considered a part of the game.

I had a call a week or two ago from a horse racing regulator (in this case primarily dealing with harness racing, but it was a call about opening things back up in general). One thing discussed was qualifiers - if they need to be allowed, if two months' stale date is acceptable to customers, etc.

It struck me as odd that this question needed to be asked, but it should not have been. As most of you know, the various jurisdictions changed the stale date criteria last year to 45 days - an eternity for harness horses. For those of us who have not yet fallen off the turnip truck this made no sense. And it's confirmed whenever we see a horse off 42 days romp in leg three of a pick 5 at 5-2. The customers are the last to know - hold it not the last to know, they never know - the horse schooled on Tuesday in 1:52. Sometimes I think the industry must think we're all happy to shovel our money to insiders.

Those are two examples of a lack of professionalism when it comes to customers. There are, as we all know, many of them.

In the real world - on twitter of course - there seems to be two tribes on "regulation". One team are right wing lunatics, one team of left wing ones.

But there's only one team in the real-real world - Regulate when something clearly doesn't work, and stay hands-off when it does. Racing proves again and again, in my view, that it needs a heavier hand. It needs someone overseeing it. It just can't - when it comes to customers at least - protect them as other industries do.

Have a nice Monday everyone.



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