19 November 2008

Fraser Downs Attempts To Lessen Intimidation Factor New Customers Face

Baymount Signs FasTrack Agreement With Fraser Downs
FasTrack ("the other racing guide") is Baymount's proprietary software
program that uses sophisticated analytical tools to interpret data and run
calculations that would normally be done manually by a professional bettor.
The new processed data is delivered to fans in the form of a user-friendly
"how-to" guide to placing bets.
FasTrack serves to educate and foster new fans to the horseracing
industry. As noted by Baymount's President and CEO, Graham Simmonds:
"Horseracing is a sophisticated wagering experience and FasTrack helps remove
the intimidation factor. By educating the user, it also provides comfort and
more enjoyment in the wagering experience."

Chuck Keeling, VP of Operations for Great Canadian Gaming stated:
"FasTrack is an important service for our industry.
Our racetrack venues combine the thrill of racing with the excitement of
casino games which attracts a large number of people who might not be familiar
with betting on the races. FasTrack provides a more user-friendly format and
provides anyone with the tools to feel more comfortable with the wagering
experience and have more fun at the track."

Disclosure note: I personally had a lot to do with the development of the FasTrack program as a consultant for Baymount.

As everyone knows, I'm a very strong believer that in order for racing to grow again, a complete overhaul of the takeout system must be done. Winners need to be created so that a buzz occurs in order to get substantial repeat business and create potential lifelong gamblers.

It will take an across the board realization by many or all tracks for this to work.

In the meantime, tracks are desperately out to try to at least try to get new repeat customers. Many new customers typically go to the track on a corporate excursion. And they are tremendously intimidated by things like racing forms and even how to bet. FasTrack helps get rid of the intimidation factor, and in more cases than not, makes the customers first time at the track at least a little more enjoyable, while educating the customer as well.

I'm surprised it has taken such a long time for Baymount's Fastrack program to sell. I'd have expected it to be used by a multitude of race tracks by now.

Good for Chuck Keeling in recognizing the fact that racing has to at least do their best with the hand they have been dealt, at this crucial time where horse racing growth has been declining.

FasTrack is available for both harness and thoroughbred tracks.

For further information on Fastrack contact: Baymount Incorporated, Mr. Graham Simmonds,
President and Chief Executive Officer, (416) 979-2881 Ext. 223

CHRB Pushes For Action In ADW Standoff

Texas Horsemen Sign Deal With Two ADWs
XPress Bet and Twinspires will have exclusive rights to Texas racing signals. I also believe HPI never lost the rights as for some reason they aren't considered to exist as an ADW by warring horsemen groups. I think the same is true for any exclusive state associated ADWs as well.

Keeneland sales drops a whopping 45%

Harness Horse Owner Colm McNulty Could Be A Fugitive

The Ontario Racing Commission is currently investigating McNulty who owns 15 horses.

The post, 2008
Horse Racing Must Drop Takeouts Substantially
that was also posted at Bloodhorse
caused a few head veins to bust. I got many comments on this blog, and Bloodhorse got at least 20 comments as well. Bloodhorse does moderate the comments, so they didn't post all of them. It was starting to get personal, so Bloodhorse decided to pull the post.
After I started asking what happened, Bloodhorse agreed to put the post up again without comments. I happened to copy 8 of them when the first 11 magically disappeared, including one comment (by someone named SBVO) who basically questioned my credentials while stating I know just enough to be dangerous, implying I don't really get it. Here are the eight I saved:


You criticize this piece yet offer no back up for your assertions, which frankly are wrong.

Some facts on takeout:

Australia studied it and went to an optimal number (and this was done before the pre-internet age). They, to maximize revenue have a 16% takeout ceiling. Their takeout is 37% less than the US and it is mandated by their central organization.

The UK has six percent takeouts through bookies (on shorter shots), who are in business for one thing - to maximize their revenue. Do you think bookies are leaving money on the table by not charging 20%? If so, with respect, you don't know bookies.

University of Colorado did a study long ago showing 11-13% takeouts are optimal.

The HPBA has said that racing has a churn factor of 7. With that churn factor, which is their own number, mathematically the optimal takeout is 13%.

Betfair in the UK studied hold and settled on about 5% for win takeouts. This firm is now, in six years worth over $4B dollars and contributes millions to UK racing and is widely considered the most successful gambling experiment in world history.

Hong Kong takeout was reduced via rebate by giving back 10% on losses to lower effective takeout. This move last year increased handles to over $67 billion there.

So to say that bloggers are not using facts, and are spouting off about things is simply not true. The people in US racing must realize that this game is priced like a monopoly and the monopoly does not exist any longer. The days of people falling over themselves to bet 22% blended takeouts are long gone, and until modern economics and econometric based policies are adopted to find optimal takeouts, and grow this business, expect the negative 25% real growth this business has had the last ten years to continue.

I have a degree in economics and own my own marketing firm if that makes you feel better about my post, however I am not naive or egotistical enough to think that it matters. This information is there for anyone who wants it by digging on the web, and I for one applaud people like this author for bringing it to the attention of racing. Just like it is inevitable that takeouts need to be reduced for our business to compete, it is also inevitable that good bloggers like this can expedite this process and help racing achieve what we all want - success.

Huh? 15 Nov 2008 4:09 PM

Here's the facts. Horse racing is an elite sport.

The only average people who can afford it are people who are involved in MEGA partnerships, not even the elite partnerships, or at the lower level tracks. Those who own on the elite level have expendable income/funds. We know we're not doing it to get rich, won't happen. It's for the fun, enjoyment, camaraderie, competition and travel. Yes maybe a little ego involved too.

Just like owning a sports franchise isn't available to everyone, owning top race horses in the premier circuits isn't either.

If you have to worry about making ends meet or paying the bills then it's probably not for you at least in the upper echelon.

Truthfully though, does the guy who owns the Yankees have any more or as much fun as the guy who sponsors the little league or softball teams? No, the big league guy just has more headaches.

ImOwnin 15 Nov 2008 4:24 PM

I agree with part of the paragraph above that states...

"In fact, if racing were to increase their fan/bettor base by competing for more players, the other problems would go away"...etc.

And I agree with Huh? about decreasing the racedates to increase purses. Instead of racing 5 days a week, why not cut it to 4 and make it a Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday schedule when more people are able to come out to the track.

But, and this is what I have always had a hard time understanding...

Why is it that most race tracks refuse to run at night with like a 7:00PM first post ??? I mean how can you "EXPECT" people to come out to the races for a first post at 1:15PM on a weekday when most of them have to work untill 4-5-6PM ??? I can understand having a first post of 1:15PM on a weekend when most people are off of work, but on a weekday ??? Racing has always been killing its own potential fan base because of this.

Maybe race track owners just lack Vision and Common Sense ???

Or maybe it's just me ???

CRob87 15 Nov 2008 6:28 PM

FourCats, I wouldn't have the audacity to make suggestions that only benefited horseplayers.

A radical cut in takeout will still get the same bottom line of money lost from the existing horse players, but it will also attract new players on the premise the game is beatable again.

Everybody wins.

Cangamble 15 Nov 2008 8:20 PM

The argument for reducing takeout assumes that gamblers are rational. That's the principal assumption in Econ. 101 macroeconomics, and it's pretty clearly been proven wrong by recent work in behavioral economics.

A more sensible view is that different parts of the betting world have different degrees of rationality. At one pole, nearest the classic assumption, are the "whales" who bet millions of dollars a year through rebate shops, and have an effective takeout rate of perhaps 3%. At the other end are the casual fans, or the old men you see at Aqueduct, who bring $20 to the track and haven't the faintest idea of what the takeout level might be. For them, racing is entertainment, and the $20 is cheaper than going to a ball game. Somewhere in between are the perhaps imaginary members of our target demographic -- all those 20- and 30-somethings who might be attracted by the fun and spectacle of the sport, but who aren't truly rational economic men and women, though they can usually do the math.

At most, 20% of total nationwide handle comes from the rational end of the spectrum. The experiments that have been done to date with lower takeout don't prove anything much, and we don't really know enough to say what optimal takeout might be. When John Brunetti raised it to 28% at Hialeah, that was clearly too much, but I have no idea whether 10%, 14% or some other number entirely is right. Nor does anyone else.

Steve (who has a law degree and has worked as a UN economist)

Steve Zorn 15 Nov 2008 8:48 PM

Good just to see people on here care & wanting to fix things!!! Long Live The Owners!!!

Bellwether 15 Nov 2008 11:18 PM

There are plenty of people who make a living from racing that aren't horseplayers. But, unless you arrange for the general public to subsidize racing (as in slot-machine revenue) and replace the purse money that comes from betting handle with other sources then like it, or not, if you don't take care of your lifeblood, the bettor, the outlook for the game is poor. Reducing takeout will extend the bankrolls of the current customer base giving some of them a chance to actually be winners and position the game in a more competitive light for the general publics' gambling dollars. If you think horseplayers' money is not paramount then why is there so much fighting over it by the various factions that make up the industry?

Richard R 16 Nov 2008 8:37 PM

I'm a guy who went with his dad to the track in the 1970s. I can read the form, and have studied some famous books on handicapping. All to no avail.

A bet made is almost always money lost. I'm competing against much better handicappers, and, most certainly, inside information.

Illegal in the stock market, it's perfectly legal for those "in the know" to bet, or not bet, their horses. And to tell their friends.

And the beaten claimer that runs like Secretariat every so often suggests to me that drugs are much more effective and pervasive than even I, a skeptic, would have thought.

I've been betting off and on for 30 years, and can count my noteworthy winning days on one hand.

Used to Go with my Dad 17 Nov 2008 12:51 AM

I appreciate the fact that Bloodhorse reposted the controversial piece, but I just don't get the attack on free speech that prevails in some of the Blogosphere. Way too much political correctness is going on. These are blogs. Opinion pieces, where writers don't get paid, and neither do the commenters. Let the gloves come off. You only live once.

Good reading on the woes of Magna Entertainment can be found in The Business Of Racing Blog.
Personally, I think they are done like dinner. The only thing Magna can do right now is audition fat ladies to sing:)

Why I Left Racing Part 3 is up at HANA's blog.

Finally, since this a gambling blog from Canada, and Canadians can legally bet on the NFL, at least through places like Betfair, I have to put up this video from Sunday's game between Pittsburgh and San Diego. 5 seconds were on the clock and San Diego needed to go 80 yards for a TD as they were down 11-10:

The film was edited, it took around 5 or 6 minutes for the officials to review the play and conclude the TD didn't count.
Illegal forward pass? Where?
Not to mention that the play isn't stopped because of an illegal forward pass according to the rules.
According to what I read, Pittsburgh was favoured by 4 1/2 or 5, and also attracted close to 2/3's of the action in Vegas which took in close to $10 million on the game.
It is estimated that over $100 million was bet (illegally ha ha) in the US on the game.
Also interesting is the fact that Pittsburgh was penalized something like 15-1 in the game.
Whether the game was fixed or not, it sure smells like it was.
Why did they review the play in the first place, and WTH did they see that made them reverse the TD?

No comments: