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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Press Release: HANA Calls For Internet Wagering Task Force; Pleased with Hollywood Compromise


Horseplayers Association Encouraged with California ADW Deal. Calls For a Settlement in Current ADW Disputes Until An Internet Wagering Plan is Formed

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


(Charlottesville, Virginia. November 25, 2008): In a press release dated November 9th, 2008, HANA asked the industry to come to a compromise regarding the California ADW fight. The Horseplayers Association of North America is encouraged that industry stakeholders have reached a one year agreement and the signal is no longer being withheld.

However, there still are ADW issues that have yet to be resolved. HANA is asking the Industry to settle these outstanding ADW disputes, with a similar one-year deal as in California, to allow for two things: 1) For fans to have access to these tracks should they want to play them and 2) To allow the Industry to form an Internet Wagering Plan for the long-term health of the sport.

"On Friday the ongoing fight over ADW revenue in Ohio resulted in a massive reduction of racing days further crippling thoroughbred racing in the state. In addition, continuing ADW disputes in Florida and Kentucky remain at a stalemate. In fact, The Bloodhorse reported today that stakes are being cut at Calder and wagering has fallen over 30% in 2008. The adoption of a similar one-year agreement in those jurisdictions is the first step to achieving progress by constructing and implementing an optimal agreement." says HANA President Jeff Platt.

HANA believes that the Internet medium is not being handled in a proper way to maximize its reach and revenue capabilities for the 21st century and it is about time we met the challenge head-on with a long-term action plan.

"We are not being smart," said Platt. "It's 2008. People know about the Internet. They want easy access, convenience, and lower prices. Companies like EBay, Amazon, and E-Trade figured it out and have boomed as a result. Anybody can buy or sell 1000 shares of stock for just eight bucks - at home before picking up the kids at daycare. We buy stuff on EBay for pennies on the dollar in commission. We buy books at a discount prices with free shipping in the middle of the night at sites like Amazon."

HANA believes racing has lagged too far behind.

"Racing is still trying to sell a 100 year old product on the internet at the same exact price it sells for at the track. Worse, racing is trying to use the internet to sell its product to some people in some states under a system of rules written before the internet was even invented. Wagering will not grow on the Internet by itself, the table needs to be set for it to grow." Platt said.

HANA calls for a group of people familiar with either the internet business, online wagering, or both to be part of a newly formed Internet Wagering Task Force. HANA would like to nominate these names for consideration, if they agree to be a part of such a panel:

Will Cummings: Mr. Cummings has detailed many of his findings to the industry before. He has called for better distribution and more flexible pricing for the different sets of racing customers. He would be a good fit to any group because of his 30+ years experience in all forms of gaming.

Halsey Minor: Mr. Minor was formerly with Internet giant CNET and knows a thing or two about an Internet business model.

Joe Riddell: Part owner of ADW Premier Turf Club who is currently trying to keep players onshore by offering Internet prices to price sensitive players through rebates.

Barry Meadow: Long time bettor, author and a member of HANA's advisory board has written much about the subject of online betting, and is familiar with many of the businesses both on and offshore, including betting exchanges that have shaped the Internet landscape.

Dana Parham
: Mr. Parham recently spoke at the Arizona Symposium on wagering and echoed similar views to Mr. Cummings and Mr. Riddell.

The UK betting site Betfair was founded in the year 2000, with an Internet wagering plan of lower prices and easy access. In only seven years they have grown from no customers to well over 1 million customers. They currently handle more bets each year than the number of trades on the European stock exchanges combined. Online poker grew with an internet wagering strategy of low prices and easy access, and it has exploded in popularity around the world.

Jeff Platt: "Racing failed to grow handle when it was a monopoly by not formulating a long-term growth plan. That was racing's first chance. We at HANA think racing should not let a rare second chance pass it by. It is our belief that the formation of an Internet Wagering Task Force can result in a solid long term plan essential to the business of racing. We believe such a plan is needed to ensure long-term growth for the industry and reverse its current decline."

HANA would like to publicly thank Mr. Drew Couto and Mr. Jack Liebau for taking the time to listen to HANA during the impasse at Hollywood Park. Their efforts did not go unnoticed. However, we ask for their attention once again and look forward to speaking with them about setting up an actionable Internet Wagering Plan for 2009 and beyond so we can bring our fine sport to a new market and allow it to grow for generations.

Please visit us at Horseplayersassociation.com for further information.

The Horseplayers Association of North America is a grassroots group of horseplayers, not affiliated with any organization, who are not pleased with the direction the game has taken. HANA believes that both tracks and horseman groups have become bogged down with industry infighting and have completely forgotten something: The importance of the customer. HANA hopes, through proactive change on several key issues (including but not limited to), open signal access, lower effective takeouts, affordable data and customer appreciation, the industry's handle losses can be reversed. HANA is currently made up of close to 400 horseplayers (both harness and thoroughbred) from almost all states and Canadian provinces. It currently represents over twenty five million dollars of yearly racing handle.

Members of the HANA advisory board include Barry Meadow, Nick Mordin, Cary Fotias and Dr. William Ziemba.

Our web address is http://www.horseplayersassociation.com and interested horseplayers can sign up there for free. We are horseplayers, just like you and we are trying to make a difference. We need and appreciate your support.

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We truly do need your help, so if you are inclined, you can by signing up for HANA here. There is no obligation, it only takes a minute to do, your information is held in confidence and it is free! Our growth since being incorporated in September 2008 has been solid, but we strive each day to make it better. There is strength in HANA; there is strength in numbers.

If you are having any java problems with the signup page please email your sign up info to horseplayersassociation at gmail.com.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

A plan with some internet people is long overdue. We seem to think if we offer product (build another track, throw a website up etc) that people will run to us and bet. It does not work that way.

I hope these crazy rules are changed too. If amazon had to offer products to only some states and had to negotiate with book sellers in each state or whatever they would never have even got financed.

a step in the right direction is this hana idea.

Anonymous said...

Out of the five nominee's I have met only Joe Riddell. Joe is a sharp guy and a horseman. A good fit for your crusade. Halsey Minor should be reconsidered immediately. His rants late last month over the inability to deal with MEC has him blackballed. Whether you agree with MEC's owner or not he holds all the cards and the inclusion of this guy will impede all progress intended. Trust me. You cant buy your way into this industry. You MUST be invited. Sorry Halsey.

bones boy said...

I don't claim to understand the disagreement between Horsemen and the ADWs - but isn't there a lot of extra cost in setting up a website (ADW) versus running a track? Servers and bandwidth are expensive, and there are no concessions (beer, food, etc.) to defray these costs. Am I being too simple minded in my thinking?

dana said...

bones boy - check out this post by Steve Zorn that looks at Churchill vs. Magna. He dissects Churchill's balance sheet.

It's pretty interesting and shows that Churchill is focusing on the growth potential with their online business. I don't claim to know the difference in costs associated to running a track vs. a ADW but it makes sense to me that there's a lot more potential growth online.

http://is.gd/92G9

Anonymous said...

The members are well meaning and the powers to be should not have to be told what is obvious. But unfortunately, business owners quite often look at a business as just a business without any thought of the customer. Perhaps this recession will knock some sense in their heads. Many have already thrown up their hands. Will they come back?

Anonymous said...

I am one hundred percent behind the Task Force. Keep brain storming HANA! I am glad I found out about this organization. There are thousands of fans who want change and who are willing to band together to bring it about.