With the recent wagering decreases reported in 2008, Jeff Platt was asked for his opinion via a recent Bloodhorse article:
The president of the Horseplayers Association of North America, a grass-roots bettors’ advocacy organization, said he feels some handicappers have just simply chosen to not wager, or have cast their lot with off-shores and bookmakers.
“They are betting less or they are sitting on the sidelines,” said Platt, whose organization includes about 500 members. “And a lot of the bigger bettors are betting offshore, where they are getting a rebate, but not betting in the pools. That is definitely happening.”
But Platt said there were bright spots in 2008, such as resulting increased handle at Monmouth Park, Louisiana Downs, Hawthorne Racetrack, and more recently, Tampa Bay Downs. He feels there is a common thread of dynamics surrounding those tracks, including wide distribution of racing signals, larger field sizes, and, despite his own success handicapping on synthetic surfaces, the presence of dirt tracks.
“I don’t know how to conceptualize it, but the bettors do respond ... it creates a buzz,” he said. “You put a good field out there, put the signal out there, and run it on dirt, and they seem to respond.”