Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Why Do Rebates Work?

I remember back in my mid-twenties, an associate and I had a good idea (well, more accurately we thought it was a good idea) during the dot com phase. We brought this amazing idea to a finance person at a brokerage where we learned pretty quickly we lacked a big, big part of this good idea being good - scale. It just could not scale. We naturally (and rightly) didn't get any money.

Most big businesses, certainly national ones, need scale. It enables the small to grow, the medium to grow large, and the largest to stay on top. 

If you consider you and your betting a side business, it needs it too. 

I sent over a few of my wagering numbers to a betting friend recently. The stats showed high volume, less than 1.00 ROI, but a total profit after rebate. He replied, "you should cash more tickets." 

That's really not bad advice at all, on the surface at least, right? In fact, it's advice many businesses use with those kinds of numbers. When the margin gets thin you trim the fat to grow. You spend less on marketing, labor costs and business investment. You descale. 

Similarly, how does one cash more tickets? By being more selective; by reducing your track array; by plucking low hanging fruit; by studying and handicapping more; by betting less

Rebates - and let's just call it what it is, lower takeout on your wagers - work because they allow us to bet more. They allow us to scale. They enable us to look at that small harness track we'd never play; to wager on the Santa Anita pick 5, expand our menu, get better at our craft. This is why when they were first implemented, handle exploded. 

Racing demands we -  almost daily with rebates less available to average Joes and Janes and things like the Woodbine Winners Tax - do the opposite nowadays. They demand we bet less; that we descale. 

What we're left with are players who are being selective, trying to pluck ROI like finding an elusive prize, along with a general public playing on weekends or bigger days, while being lured with sports betting and other pursuits. 

Rebates and lower takeout are not a panacea, a fix for everything, some pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. But they do allow players to scale, and when players are scaling they're betting more; they're more engaged. And that's vital to every national business, which racing is. 

Have a nice Wednesday everyone. 

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