9 June 2017

Is It Time For The Omni?

The Omni wager, also known as the Swinger has spread into North America, not yet on any US or Canadian's track betting menus, but it is available to North American Horseplayers on South Africa and Hong Kong cards. If you play it you no longer have to say things like "Ist and 3rd again, the story of my life," because if you finish 1st and 3rd, you cash.

After takeout is removed from the Omni pool, the balance is divided by three. One third goes to those who wagered on the 1st and 2nd finishers, another third goes to those who wagered on the 1st and 3rd finishers, and the final third goes to those who wagered on the horses who finished 2nd and 3rd. In other words, it is about 3 times more likely that one would cash this wager as opposed to playing an exacta box or quinella. Of course, the payout is around one third of what an exacta box would pay as well.

It is a wager that could fly with new players. If you look at the success of Daily Fantasy Sports, churn is a key factor. Many players are content when they double their money for the night as they have action money for the next couple of days without having to go to the well, while also keeping an eye on the big prize. As an entry level wager, the Omni offers enough of a reward to put a smile on the face of a newbie, while also introducing them to the idea of using multiple horses which leads to understanding handicapping more which could lead to more horizontal and vertical wagers where bigger payoffs occur.

The Omni was set to debut at Aqueduct in 2014 with a 15% takeout, but for some reason, the December 2013 news releases never came to fruition. It could be argued that NYRA understands churn and growing business more than most, if not all organizations out there today. The fact they don't offer jackpot bets is evidence of that, and if anyone is going to begin offering the Omni at a North American track, it will probably be them.

The big problem regarding the Omni is that pools are already diluted as players have too many options each race. Pool size is important to value players, so it might take a while for the Omni to catch on, however, if racing is to grow, the focus should be on high churn low takeout wagers as opposed to the current jackpot fad, that is lazily becoming available at more and more tracks hope to fluke into a Gulfstream Park Rainbow 6 situation rather than think out of the box for ways to grow handle. Jackpot wagers create little to no churn and create no new long term players, the Omni could do the opposite.

How about repealing and replacing jackpot bets, Hi 5s and high takeout superfectas in races with less than 7 betting interests with a low takeout Omni?