Thursday, July 5, 2012

Two "Must Read" Horse Racing Blog Posts

There are a couple of recent horse racing blog posts that are so good, that I'm plugging them here.  As readers can easily glean from other racing posts, racing has issues.  These two posts emphasize that and bring some additional statistical and anecdotal evidence to back up that assertion.

The first post is from the CANGAMBLE blog, which focuses on topics of interest in Canadian gambling.  The story discusses some of the history how racing's former monopoly has changed and how that is being manifested today with current issues.  Topics such as takeout, bet types and demographics are discussed, among others.

The post suggests several fixes such as:
  1. Lowering takeout
  2. Eliminating track-focused "jackpot" bets
  3. Adding a nationwide "jackpot" bet
  4. Implementing exchange wagering
I won't quibble with these fixes except for one - exchange wagering.  Exchange wagering isn't going to bring new horse players.  It will, however, be of benefit to a portion of the current wagering base as the vigorish on exchange wagers will generally be a lot lower than the takeout on pari-mutuel wagers.  The players will definitely benefit, but the money that will be generated for racing itself will likely be much lower.  That revenue shock I don't think the industry can handle.  If pari-mutuel takeout was lowered, I think that would be a superior approach.  There are other potential issues with exchange wagering that could manifest if not implemented well, such as "bot" wagering hogging the good wagers for the exchange operator, not the player, as well as the potential for profitable race fixing.  Overall, the post is a winner and is recommended.

The second post is from the Horseplayers Association of North America.  Their post asked the question of poker players and sports bettors why they don't bet on horse racing.  The comments were very frank and generally fell into these categories:
  1. Takeout or vigorish is too high, so too difficult to make money
  2. Conduct that impacts the integrity of the race
  3. Not interested in the sport
The last one is the one I'm interested in and I think is key, although the other two should not be ignored.  You bet on what you know and what you are interested in.  Some people bet baseball, but not football.  Some bet football, but only college football.  Why?  They're interested in it and they know it quite well, so they think they can win.  Or, they are interested in it and having some money on a game increases their fan experience.

If you could bet on soap operas, would you?  Probably no.  Why not?  Most likely because you couldn't give a rat's rear end about soap operas.  Since racing is no longer a monopoly, and most betting now is done off-track, people don't go to the races as often.  Also, that means that parents aren't taking their kids to the track.  Kids grow up not knowing anything about horse racing, except occasionally hearing about the big races, or when a horse breaks down and is euthanized or a racing official is accused of wrongdoing or there is a horse drugging scandal.  What do you think gets the most press and what do you think folks tend to remember?  Not rocket science.  Like the CANGAMBLE post, this one is very informative and highly recommended.

In reality, nothing the current geniuses running racing have come up with in the last 30 years have done much to reinvigorate the sport and stem the slow, steady decline of the horseplayer base and wagering handle.  Last year, the Jockey Club chartered a study by the McKinsey consulting firm.  The study showed that racing was losing 4% of its fan base per year.  What was shocking to me is that half of that loss was due to people dying.  Racing's fan base is literally dying off.  The joke I say to people is that you need an AARP card before you're allowed admission to a racetrack.  That isn't that far off as the average age of a horseplayer is 50, which is the age people start getting AARP cards in the mail.

So how to get the younger demographic interested in horse racing?  I've got a pretty good idea about that, so if you're in the racing industry and want to know, drop me a line - my consulting rates are very reasonable!

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free bets at Punters Lounge said...

Thanks for sharing those 2 posts. There are definitely a lot of lessons there beneficial to all horse race betting fans.

Anonymous said...

thanks for posting.

Winny Samson said...

These 2 posts were interesting and useful Thanks for sharing.

Sports Betting said...

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