19 January 2010

Los Alamitos Ups Takeout Rate; HANA Not Pleased

In a new world where it is more than apparent that high takeout kills growth and leads to date cuts and lower purses, the CHRB in its infinite wisdom, voted to increase track takeout on all bets by 2%. The takeout increase goes into affect on January 21st.

HANA (Horseplayers Association Of North America) President Jeff Platt was at the meeting and offered this gem:

"Bo Derek and I got into a brief argument where she said that even after the takeout increase, prize payouts (takeout) would still be more favorable for the player at Los Al than slots or blackjack prize payouts at a local casino. I corrected her saying that WPS takeout after the increase would be 18% returning 82 cents for every dollar wagered vs a slots return of 91-92 cents per every dollar wagered. She told me I was wrong. It was only after John Harris corrected her that she shut up."

Jeff, of course is correct. Shouldn't those who vote on such issues as takeout hikes at least have basic knowledge of competitive takeout rates?

Looks like the gloves are off. HANA has circulated a letter written for Jeff Platt by another HANA member to its membership (which is at around 1500):

An Open Letter to Los Alamitos Horseplayers

Last week HANA Pres Jeff Platt spoke at a CHRB meeting in opposition to a proposed 2% takeout increase at Los Alamitos. The CHRB Board, despite the evidence presented that an increase in takeout rates would have a negative impact on handle and revenues, decided to institute the raise. They also included a review process, where by the CHRB would from time to time review Los Alamitos handle numbers between now and Sept 8th, 2010, in order to monitor the effect of this takeout increase on handle.

If the handle numbers come back weak, and show that horseplayers are reacting negatively to this takeout increase, there is a high likelihood it will be rescinded. If the handle numbers come back unchanged, there is a high likelihood the takeout increase will be made permanent. It is also likely, in our opinion, that if Los Alamitos handle is strong, that other California tracks will follow suit with takeout raises of their own. We know this would have a very negative effect on you, as a horseplayer, and in return on California Racing as a whole.

You, as a Los Alamitos bettor, have a very big say in all of this. Each dollar bet at Los Alamitos is a vote for making the takeout increase permanent, and a vote towards seeing higher takeouts across California. Each dollar withheld from Los Alamitos is a vote towards rescinding this takeout increase, and discrediting the notion that racing's revenue problems can be solved by simply raising the price of an already overpriced product. You are in the enviable position to have a direct and measurable impact on the future of California racing, and to make a statement on behalf of horseplayers everywhere.

We ask you to consider these facts, and we trust that your actions and decisions will help to bring about a better and brighter future for this game.

Please pass this message on to fellow horseplayers everywhere.

Jeff Platt

President, HANA

To join HANA (it is free), click here.

Woodbine Entertainment Shuns Flamboro Downs For Louisiana Downs.
Business over long term growth has been Woodbine's MO for quite some time. In order to grow the game in Ontario, Ontario content is a must. It gets owners, co-owners, families of owners and other horsemen involved. If you show local racing, you might plant a seed in someone who will eventually either become a medium to big bettor and/or a new owner.
But the reality is that Woodbine has bigger and better handle on some American tracks, so they are now getting preference on HPITV.
I wonder if home market comes into play too. I'm pretty sure that Woodbine doesn't make as much from someone betting in Flamboro's home market no matter what track they bet on versus someone betting from the Woodbine home market. And they probably make more money if their home market player bets on a US track over another track in Canada that they have to pay a bigger split to.
If this is true, we might be seeing less and less Canadian content, with the exception of Woodbine and Mohawk.
I wonder if Fort Erie is a candidate to get bumped in the summer. Time will tell.

Woodbine would love Woodbine and Mohawk to be the only tracks in Ontario. Slot revenues are standing in their way though. But they might do everything in their power to make it happen just the same.

I wonder how many Youbet customers got this notice

I meant to post this awhile ago. Keeneland Library has a project going on to try to save the Daily Racing Form archives. Watch this:

They still have a ways to go but they do have quite a few Racing Forms archived already. Check it out.

Oh yeah, if you watch sports new on TV you may have missed it, Rachel Alexandra beat Zenyatta out as horse of the year. I was wrong again. This means the odds are with me next time? See what happens when you read too much Bo Derek.

A quote from a friend of mine regarding the coverage of HOY:

"I watch Sports Center two times a day. An hour in the morning when I am on my treadmill or stationary bike and an hour at night when I go bed.

Yesterday was one of the racing industries biggest days as far as the press is concerned. It was horse racing's Oscars, its Golden Globe, horse racing's awards night. In the 60 minutes this morning it received 8 seconds of time when they announced in passing the Horse of the year. That was it – less than 10 seconds. A snowboarder who was scheduled to be in the Olympics had more air time because he crashed his three wheeler and was now out of the games."

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