Tuesday, April 21, 2009

RCI Conference: Maloney, HANA and Nicholson

Ray Paulick is live blogging the Racing Commissioners Intl conference today. Two people who mentioned the horseplayers were Nick Nicholson, of Keeneland, and Mike Maloney, horseplayer & HANA member.

From Mr. Nicholson's morning speech:

Nicholson said the "best single thing" we can do this year in Washington is to get the I.R.S. off the backs of horseplayers who are fortunate enough to hit a ticket they have to sign for.

"The entire economic survival of the modern pari-mutuel system is based on interstate simulcast. At least for the time being we have a virtual monopoly on interstate simulcast." The industry told Congress, Nicholson said, that it could trust the industry because it would be monitored and regulated effectively at the state level. "Any entity that gets into our pools should have a regulatory body, and if it were my say they would have a regulatory body that belongs to this distinguished organization." Horseplayer Mike Maloney erupts in applause.

From Mike's afternoon presentation:

Professional horseplayer Mike Maloney was introduced and began his presentation by urging commissioners to become familiar with a new organization, Horseplayers Association of North American (HANA), and he presented four things HANA would like to see achieved. all track signals available to accredited tracks, lower takeout, strict uniform medication and improved wagering security. Easy to state, hard to achieve, Maloney said. He talked about the confusion horseplayers have about wagering formats from track to track, especially on which races have trifectas or superfectas due to the different state rules that apply to field size of those races.

Maloney urged states to allow trifectas in small fields, something Kentucky has done. He said the handle increases when tracks do that. He then went on to talk about past-post wagering, late odds changes and wagering pool manipulation. Maloney called for wagering pools to close at one minute to post time. "That a bitter pill to swallow that we would ever have to do that," he said, "but it would solve these problems." He acknowledged that it would cause a reduction in handle. "But if that’s what we need to do, if a y ear or two from now if we are still sitting here and don’t have a solution, then I think we seriously need to consider closing the windows early enough so that the odds are final before the gates are open. That would bring back a lot of confidence in that game."

Full recap from the Paulick Report here. Highlights include Alex Waldrop's presentation and more from Mike and Nick Nicholson.

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