Welcome to the World Famous Super Spectacular Blog Vol 9.
I guess a quick note - this blog is not world famous, I just like overselling and I'm sticking with it until the Department of Hyperbole tells me I can't anymore.
First up, let's play a game.
The Government gives you like $50 million dollars to run a racetrack, and you get this each year as far as the eye can see.
The racetrack itself sells about $60 million in product (handle) and your margin on that product is about $3 million, or 5% of what you receive in gratuity each year.
So, if you didn't even sell anything - you sent every customer home to shop somewhere else - you'd have $50 million instead of $53 million.
Now, this $50 million does come with some strings. You have to:
i) Ensure the cash is distributed to the right people.
ii) Show you are growing the $60 million in sales because the people giving you the money don't want to look like fools (this is your downside risk).
To run our track properly, this is pretty simple, isn't it?
We'd send a ton of money to state breds, and local trainers and owners.
And we'd eliminate any downside risk to sales. This would be done in the easiest way possible - slashing the price to pretty much nothing. Why nothing? Because we only get $3 million from it, and $50 million is bigger (and more important) than $3 million.
Now, we'd obviously want some return, because zero is silly. We'd probably want to increase revenues at some point outside the $50 million. But you get my point.
Sadly, and I believe this dumbfounds us all, one racetrack of this type, Kentucky Downs, has decided this year to increase the takeout.
This hike could "work". That is, they could, instead of say $53.0 million in revenue, generate maybe $53.1 million in revenue. But at what cost? Perhaps growth and public relations.
It's a hell of a lot harder to cancel a subsidy if our racetrack is delivering double in handle what Blue Grass day does on our big day; is perhaps the third largest handle day in a state - filled with happy on-track patrons - that includes the Kentucky Derby.
It's funny to me. The industry examines and reports handle figures each day, each meet, each quarter like clockwork You'd think handle would be an important metric to them. To Kentucky Downs (and so many slot-fuelled, subsidized racetracks) I don't for one moment believe that it is. Actions speak louder than words.
On to other things......
The legend Maury Wolff was Chris's guest on the Bet with the Best pod this week. As of this writing (traveling and work stuff the past week) I have not listened, but I've been really looking forward to this baby.
Thread of the Week on twitter has to go to Nico. He's like some sort of well-connected super-sleuth.
Pletcher runs a very professional barn and it ain't his first rodeo. Why so many overages? Maybe gumshoe Nico can uncover what's been going on, but in my view, this is pretty strange.
I've been motoring around so I haven't fully digested the Chuchill move, however, Ed has it covered.
Chatting with a gambling friend this week and one interesting conversation we had was about slots at various casinos in Ontario.
It turns out several of the high payout machines that are usually packed are like a ghost town now. When the slot captain was asked what happened, he simply said "no one seems to play them anymore". Turns out what happened was an increase of the juice.
For example, perfect play video poker could result in positive ev with free play and these machines were always super-busy, but the volume players who knew the tiny edge apparently knows there isn't one anymore. Their volume didn't creep down slowly, it went to zero.
On another (similar) note, baseball at Casino Windsor was sporting 35 cent lines, and this was not much worse than the lines at Woodbine.
The lesson in this new landscape I suppose: If you want prices, make sure you line shop, and pay attention to posted rate changes.
Added bonus to the blog this week - Live shots of a Horseplayer get together this past weekend.
Tommy Hammer watching NYRA replays while The Spice Girls (that wanna song) is playing. Nice to meet you and Tarik both, Tommy!
PTP watching his best bet of the night live..... finish third. Note to younger players, one day you'll wake up with reading glasses, be grey and you'll notice it in random pictures. It comes when you least expect it, like when you hit a Rainbow pick 6.
Woodbine introduced the "Omni Swinger" this week; which should not be confused with an ad from an alternative dating site, because it's a wager.
This bet was built for the UK or Hong Kong with massively big, competitive fields, and it can work in those because the number of likely combinations is pretty huge. In harness racing which is dominated by favorites, I think probably not so much.
Woodbine has plenty of wagers with watered down payoffs, including 20 cent tris and pick 3's. I'm not sure why more of them would help handle, but I write a free blog on the internet.
Here's a doozy for you.
At a major legal sportsbook, a friend was betting solely based on prices and price shopping (knowledge of how to play, with little handicapping), and he was doing some volume - about $75,000 in bets. Approaching the $75,000 number he finally went green. He had $120 profit.
The next day his play was limited to just about nothing. It is just remarkable how most books seem to operate.Big Al put the pressure on, but I can't deliver. It sounds like I have to catch up on the shenanigans Saturday.
The NFL changed the kickoff rules for the 2023 season, where returns are to be almost eliminated.
I wonder if @Pullthepocket’s Super Monday Blog this week will be addressing the Mohawk non-tries tonight and the M1 wiener dog races?— Alan Gobbi (@polarcritter) June 4, 2023
It's weird because from what I've seen, the same thing doesn't really happen in the Thoroughbreds. Years ago when Betfair was alive in the Tundra, a friend of mine, as well as myself, played a lot of races. We both noticed that horses who act up at the gate would not get faded in market. This seemed illogical, but when we started charting it over a decent sample size they were probably right not to.
I wonder if our sample was not big enough and it's actually true that fractious horses at the gate are lower ROI. Maybe o_crunk can figure it out, but for us we stopped cancelling bets because it didn't seem to make a difference.