PlayersBoycott

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Friday, June 26, 2009

Arlington PP's, FAST Sheets and More for Race 9

This weeks race of the week has the goods up, thanks to the guys at Paceadvantage.

PP's

FAST sheets

Bias Reports

Thorograph

Thanks again, Trackmaster and Thorograph for the free data.

Good luck everyone!

PS: You have to be logged into the Paceadvantage site to get the links above (except thorograph).

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Arlington Time!!


This week we are off to Chicago!

This weeks race of the week has the goods up, thanks to the guys at Paceadvantage.

PP's

FAST sheets

Bias Reports

The "Hana Pool Party" is a concept first detailed by HANA members and long time horseplayers, Mike Mayo and Ross Gallo (explained in detail here). In a nutshell, we hope to pool a significant following of horseplayers, and horseplayer money each week, to bet into a specific pool, or track. We hope that the concept can mushroom and raise awareness of horseplayer-centric issues that can make our game a better one to play, and grow the sport of horse racing. No amount of betting is too small, we appreciate every dollar played.

Previous pool parties resulted in a doubling of some pool targets (e.g. Will Rogers and Tampa), and spiked pools at larger tracks in a significant way.

We thank all the organizations which have helped us promote the concept, with free past performances (Trackmaster), selections (Trackmaster and the Perikan Money Sheet), figures (pacefigures.com and thorograph) linking (Equidaily, Paulick, Green But Game, the TBA and many bloggers who are playing each week) and ad networks/chat boards( Hello Race Fans and Paceadvantage.com). I hope we are not forgetting anyone! We love the support and can not do it without you.

Thank you all, and good luck at this weeks race! To handicap the race and discuss and plan future Pool Parties, please join the Handletalks Yahoo group and have a some fun.And don't forget to join HANA here. It's free!

Death By a Thousand Cuts

Horseplaying is becoming a lost art. Each day something new happens which helps bleed horseplayers to death. In the latest salvo, the government of New Hampshire instituted a 10% tax on gambling winnings.

As one poster on Paceadvantage put it:

Imagine betting $100,000 a year on racing.....getting back $90,000....after losing $10,000, you then owe the state of NH $9,000 in taxes for gambling winnings.

Obviously this takes every horseplayer right out of the game.


He is correct. You can now lose money playing horses (like most do) and still OWE a tax. Break that down for a moment. This says this to a potential or current customer: "Please come play racing. You will be up against the highest takeouts of any skill game in world gambling history, and if you do lose as expected, you will lose again when tax time comes around."

Could you imagine if they did this with stock trading losses? If you lost $40k in stock trades, or investing in 2009, you do NOT owe money at the end of the year. In fact, losses can be carried forward in many instances. If they asked for a 10% tax like they are asking horseplayers for, the whole country's investing system would go on tilt.

This is bad news for racing, and bad news for the horseplayer. We are so busy lobbying the government for slots that these things seem to slip through the cracks, with no one there to say "no mas". Drip by drip, the game of handicapping is slowly being destroyed.

This is not yet law, but soon should be. Racing in NH has one more chance to save horseplaying in their state. You are not getting slots folks, so please try to save what you do have: horseplayers.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Why Does Racing Have Meetings Without Customers?

I was just watching the McDonald's documentary on CNBC. It was pretty interesting. It showed how product development, new foods, and everyday business was totally focused on their "guests" (they call their customers 'guests' I guess). They would not even think of discussing what to do, to change, or what needs to be done, without consulting the customers, no matter what they do.

After that I got online to check some stories, and one was about a high level racing think tank that was held at the Meadowlands.

Who was invited? Let's have a look.

A track executive
A track owner
A breeder
A harness driver
Another driver
Some horse owners
Some horseman reps
and a couple of other commission people and so on.

Where is the bettor? The guy who might bet $100,000 on the product, giving a full $25,000 of it to racing, so these folks can have a salary? Y'know, the guy who provides virtually all the bottom line revenues to racing, whom without which, these folks would be racing for ribbons?

Nowhere.

This business is not McDonald's.

Racing should not even bother meeting without inviting a bettor to the table. It is insanity.

Please, join HANA, if you are not a member yet. It is free. Our strength is in our numbers.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Free PP's, Pacefigures and More for Monmouth

Tomorrow is the Pool Party, Race 7 at Monmouth. Free PP's, Pacefigures and more are available here, as well as the post directly below.

Thorograph information for the HANA race, click here.

Good luck everyone!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Back to Monmouth: Race 7 Saturday - Free PP's Now Available


Last week's Monmouth race was such a success that we are going back. This time for an allowance race, on dirt, with a juicy full field. Free PP's Pacefigures and more are here.

The "Hana Pool Party" is a concept first detailed by HANA members and long time horseplayers, Mike Mayo and Ross Gallo (explained in detail here). In a nutshell, we hope to pool a significant following of horseplayers, and horseplayer money each week, to bet into a specific pool, or track. We hope that the concept can mushroom and raise awareness of horseplayer-centric issues that can make our game a better one to play, and grow the sport of horse racing. No amount of betting is too small, we appreciate every dollar played.

Previous pool parties resulted in a doubling of some pool targets (e.g. Will Rogers and Tampa), and spiked pools at larger tracks in a significant way.

We thank all the organizations which have helped us promote the concept, with free past performances (Trackmaster), selections (Trackmaster and the Perikan Money Sheet), figures (pacefigures.com and thorograph) linking (Equidaily, Paulick, Green But Game, the TBA and many bloggers who are playing each week) and ad networks/chat boards( Hello Race Fans and Paceadvantage.com). I hope we are not forgetting anyone! We love the support and can not do it without you.

Thank you all, and good luck at this weeks race! To handicap the race and discuss and plan future Pool Parties, please join the Handletalks Yahoo group and have a some fun.And don't forget to join HANA here. It's free!


FREE PACE FIGURES FROM PACEFIGURE.COM AND PAST PERFORMANCES FROM TRACKMASTER.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Bet Smart Win Big

Reading Jay Cronley's piece today at ESPN.com about knowing and learning how to bet a play for maximizing profits, jogged my memory on a recent book I read. Bet Smart Win Big by Prentice Mannetter was recently released, and is available at Amazon.com here. (Full disclosure, Prentice is a HANA member).

If we go through chat boards, or are at our local simo-center or racetrack we will see, hear and read topic after topic regarding 'money management', or 'ticket structures.' "If I only knew how to bet I would be a winner" is a phrase well known to players. It is not that easy, of course (if you do not have an edge you can not be a winner by money management alone), but those two areas can maximize your profit potential, minimize losses, and make the game more fun.

Unfortunately, horseplayers tend to spend thousands, and bet thousands, chasing winners, but spend much less time and money on chasing profits. This book by Prentice addresses the latter.

The book is a quick read at around 100 pages, but it is filled with anecdotes and statistics that you do not see everywhere (a lot of books on the subject are extremely subjective, I find). The first part of the book is on ticket structure. Some people like and swear by exacta boxes, some with tri boxes, others would not touch a three or four horse box with a ten foot pole. The author offers out some statistics and unique ticket structures for these bets, many of which come from professional players themselves. I learned something in these topics. He also explores other vertical and horizontal wagers, including the superfecta, which is one of my favorite bets, and one I have had some success with. I agree with many of his ideas in this section, and the ones I do not agree with I will be doing some studying, or testing with them.

The second half focuses on money management. I have read countless books on the subject (mainly from a stock trading perspective) and I am sure you have read about the Kelly Criterion, or principle. Often times my eyes glaze over at the topic. However, the author explains it better than, in a more entertaining way than, I have ever read. If you are not a math geek you can still understand these chapters.

In my opinion, and that is all it is, this book should be on a horseplayers bookshelf. It tries to speak to a player like he is not a math genius or computer programmer, or a stone-cold calculating professional punter. It tries to speak to the every day guy, out at the track who would like some ideas to improve their games, even if they are in the learning or testing phase.

There are three things a player can do to win: be a better handicapper, receive a lower takeout, or be a better bettor. This book is a good start to helping us with the latter. A winning player is a happy player and good for the game of racing.

DT

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Dear Governor & Racing

To: Gov Steve Beshear
700 Capitol Avenue, Suite 100
Frankfort, KY 40601
Tel: 502.564.2611
Fax: 502.564.2517

Cc: Sen. President David Williams
702 Capitol Avenue, Annex Room 236
Frankfort, KY 40601
Tel: 502.564.3120
Fax: 502.564.0456

Cc: House Speaker Greg Stumbo
702 Capitol Avenue, Annex Room 303
Frankfort, KY 40601
Tel: 502.564.2363
Fax: 502.564.7178

Dear Sirs,

The Horseplayer Association of North America is a grassroots organization which was incorporated in September of 2008. In a short nine months, the group has grown to 1200 members representing tens of millions of dollars of annual wagering handle. We would like to make our thoughts known regarding the status of Kentucky racing, and what we think you can do to help.

I am sure you have heard from many of racings insiders – trainers, owners, track executives, feed men, vets and more. We are different. With us you are hearing from racings customer: The people who fill the stands, watch racing, live racing, and breathe racing. We represent racings demand side revenues.

As you well know, a trip to Keeneland in the fall or spring, to Louisville in May, or a night out at Turfway on a cold January evening is what your state is about. It can be argued that Kentucky racing is not just a sport, or a game to gamble on. It is a slice of Americana, and we want to see that continue. Not for a year, or ten years with band-aid solutions, but for generations.

With the state of horse racing in 2009, the business feels there are only a couple of ways a jurisdiction can add additional revenues: By alternative gaming, or increasing taxes. Kentucky takeout rates are some of the finest in the nation. Raising them, or taxing horseplayers will not result in an increase in business. This has been proven time and time again in all types of gambling games. The jurisdictions with the lowest takeouts have done well, while those who continually nickel and dime the horseplayer, have not. In the UK when taxes were taken off sports betting, sports betting grew. In Australia where a 6% takeout pick 6 was instituted, racing grew. In Singapore when lower takeouts were experimented with, racing grew. In Hong Kong, who lowered rates recently, it plugged the losses. The Horseplayer Association of North America believes raising rates in your state will simply be another nail in the coffin.

Because it is not politically reasonable to restructure betting in those ways in your state at this time, that leaves us with alternative gaming. It is no secret what slots have done to your horse population and handle, with adjacent states offering slots fuelled purses.

This will this narrow the gap between yourselves and adjacent states, and if done correctly, a slots program built for the 21st century can allow Kentucky to stand up and be beacon to other racing jurisdictions. With past slot deals there has been a tremendous amount of money placed into the supply side of the equation – racedates, purse increases and so on. However, little has been placed on the demand side – cultivating the racing customer, through takeout breaks, player rewards, and increased demand side infrastructure. This has not made racing economically viable as a long term betting proposition and slots have been simply a band-aid. With a properly written slots deal between the state, the tracks, the horseman and the customer, we think Kentucky can be a world leader in racing once again. You are in a unique position where you can use empirical evidence from other jurisdictions to write a far better long-term deal, which can be a benefit to all, and grow the sport of racing.

As you have heard from many in racing based solely on supply, we will end this by speaking of what it means to be a customer of racing in your state. Making a trip to Keeneland for horseplayers is pure magic. One is treated with respect and knows that it will not be their last visit. The same goes for a trip to the Red Mile in the fall for fans of that sport, or Derby fans in the spring at Churchill. It can be argued that meets such as those, do more for the goodwill and word-of-mouth marketing for your state than any television commercial, or any ad campaign could ever hope to. Kentucky is racing, and racing is Kentucky. As horseplayers we want to keep it that way. We urge you to implement alternative gaming the right way. If you make it so, you can ensure that the words “Kentucky” and “racing” are inexorably linked forever.

Sincerely,
Horseplayers Association of North America

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Free PP's, Pacefigs and More for Monmouth Race 9 Saturday

The free stuff is now up (thanks fellas) for the Monmouth Saturday race!

Pacefigs and Past Performances can be accessed here. Thorograph is available here.

Thanks again, CJ from Pacefigures.com, Craig from TrackMaster, the Perikan Money Sheet and Thorograph for the ongoing support.

Targeting Jersey


This weeks Pool Party takes place at Monmouth, Race 9 on Saturday. PP's et al are here.

Thorograph sheets for free, now added.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Presque Isle Downs - Trying to Improve the HANA Ratings Metrics

Doug Salvatore has a piece on Goerie.com regarding PID's struggle with improving field size, and Pennsylvania's sky-high takeouts.

When we were set to task on the HANA track ratings system we had hoped that tracks and players would be more and more cognizant of field size and takeouts. From our feedback it appears this has been the case. From the article:

Earlier this year, the Horseplayers Association of North America ranked 65 North American thoroughbred tracks from best to worst.

They based their rankings on just three factors: field size, takeout and wager menu. Presque Isle Downs scored 62nd in North America and 58th out of the 59 thoroughbred tracks in the United States, besting only Colorado's obscure Arapahoe Park.


For 2008:

Fans were treated to a steady diet of small fields, unattractive wagering options and a Draconian takeout rate. To make matters worse, a complicated dispute over revenue sharing arose on the opening weekend of the meet that forced the Downs' signal to be blocked by Advanced Deposit Wager sites such as YouBet, TVG, Twinspires and Xpressbet.

For 2009, things have improved (sans takeouts of course!):

Fans throughout the country now can watch and bet on Presque Isle Downs from their own phones and computers. Sometimes the races are even shown live on TVG (DirectTV channel 602 and Dish Network channel 405).

Field size also has improved through the first month of this meet. Through the first 21 racing days of last year's meet the average field consisted of just 6.32 starters per race. With 21 racing days completed this year, the average field size is 7.89 starters per race.


We are happy tracks are starting to take their customers seriously, because when they offer out better field size and better rates, and show their races to all who want them, their business will improve.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Paceadvantage Poll: Rebates or Lower Takeouts?

There is an interesting poll at Paceadvantage.com, conducted by Patrick rom Prairie Meadows: "What do you think is more preferable, a rebate or lower across the board takeouts?"

To vote on the poll please click here. You can also leave comments here, or on the poll thread.

Friday, June 5, 2009

HANA Letters to the CHRB

Today the California Horse Racing Board is meeting, and Jeff has sent the following letters regarding agenda items on behalf of HANA.


Attn: Mr. Kirk Breed Executive Director CHRB

Re: Agenda Item before the CHRB

Dear Mr. Breed,

My name is Jeff Platt. I am president of an organization called HANA (the Horseplayers Association of North America.) We have only been around since Sept 08 and in that time have grown to over 1100 members - all of them horseplayers - with collective annual handle in excess of $41 million.

Our goal as an organization is to give the customer a voice within the industry and to communicate customer needs and wants to the industry.

Speaking on behalf of more than 1100 HANA members - horseplayers with handle in excess of $41 million annually - I would like to voice our collective player OUTRAGE over the recent past posting incident at Hollywood Park.

I hope the CHRB has some feeling for the players who received refunds when they had legally placed winning wagers. And for players who tossed tickets eligible for a refund. Also some concern for the 33 sites who had to tell their players of the refunds or book the bets themselves. The only two of these sites that we spoke with said it was impossible to let their players know what was going on since the sites couldn't get calls through to HOL until several minutes after the race.

Why did HOL mgmt or the CHRB not make the public aware of the problem until Paulick contacted them on Tuesday? If they had not been contacted when was the info going to be released, if ever?

We at HANA view POOL INTEGRITY as having the utmost importance. We also believe that racing should be regulated in such a way that there are no questions whatsoever about the integrity of the game.

We at HANA want to make sure that the CHRB understands that incidents such as the one that recently happened at Hollywood Park - and the way that incident was handled - do not inspire player confidence about the integrity of the game or the way the game itself is regulated.

This incident and others like it (sadly there was a similar incident at PEN a few days after the HOL event) never would have happened if the industry had done the right thing and invested in a secure tote system based on modern day technology fast enough to render odds and payoffs in real time. Instead, the industry has been allowed to operate using decades old technology that is by today's standards obsolete.

What assurances do we as customers have that this incident will not be repeated going forward? What changes and/or new safegards does the CHRB plan to put in place going forward?

Sincerely,


On Behalf of 1100 HANA Members -
Jeff Platt
President, HANA




-------------------------------------------------------------------


Attn: Mr. Kirk Breed Executive Director CHRB

Re: Rebates in California

Dear Mr. Breed,

My name is Jeff Platt. I am president of an organization called HANA (the Horseplayers Association of North America.) We have only been around since Sept 08 and in that time have grown to over 1100 members - all of them horseplayers - with collective annual handle in excess of $41 million.

Our goal as an organization is to give the customer a voice within the industry and to communicate customer needs and wants to the industry.

Speaking on behalf of more than 1100 HANA members - horseplayers with handle in excess of $41 million annually - I would like to voice STRONG SUPPORT in favor of allowing rebates in California.

We hope the CHRB understands that the industry has paid for several economic studies (Cummings and others) indicating that demand for gambling is price sensitive and elastic. Lower pricing creates interest and demand for the product from customers and drives handle upwards. Higher pricing (increased takeout) reduces customer interest in the product and drives handle downward.

We believe the CHRB has an outstanding opportunity to increase customer interest and demand for thoroughbred racing by lowering pricing by allowing rebates in California.

We further believe that the free market should be used as the sole determinant of rebate percentages. We want the board to understand that we as racing's customers are strongly opposed to any attempts to enforce a CAP on rebates of 2.0 percent as the TOC has recently done to several Account Deposit Wagering companies. We want the board to understand that we are also opposed to TrackNet's requirement that significant rebates only be offered to customers wagering in excess of $1 million annually. Attempts such as those only serve to curtail customer interest and demand for the product.

We reiterate: Let the free market determine rebate percentages and pricing. A free market affords the industry the best chance for maximizing customer interest and demand for the product.

We hope that the CHRB will sieze this opportunity to reverse a decades long industry trend of handle stagnation - and start growing handle instead - by taking action that will immediately allow track and ADW operators to start offering rebates (with rates as determined by a free market) to California residents.


Sincerely,


On Behalf of 1100 HANA Members -
Jeff Platt
President, HANA

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

They Take Wagering Integrity Seriously Over There

In the UK, wagering integrity is certainly something that is watched and worked on. If I were planning a betting coup, I would not be wanting to try it across the pond.

..... Information arrives from all sectors of racing, from officers in the field, from courses, from weighing rooms, stables, punters, the public, and from a network of informants. "We run informants in the same way the police run informants, right down to safety and protection where appropriate," Beeby says.

...... Chignell signals an alert "when we know we've got a situation that doesn't look good". In such cases, the stewards routinely interview the connections of whichever horse has prompted the alert. When the unit was at a fledgling stage in 2004, there were around three alerts per week. Now it is around one every three weeks. Slowly and surely, racing is becoming less and less corruptible.


More at link

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Wagering Monitoring and More

Some Tuesday headlines.

Indiana to monitor wagering in real time.

“This is a big day for AMS and a big day for pari-mutuel wagering integrity,” said Isidore Sobkowski, AMS President and CEO. “Our proven and tested advanced artificial intelligence solution for wagering integrity will help ensure a fair racing environment for all stakeholders. Indiana’s cyber-security leadership will set the standard for the entire industry.”

Fred Pope is back speaking of changing the IHA, so that tracks get more money, and ADW (and the player) gets less money. He states that "when we correct the 1978 Interstate Horse-racing Act, live racing revenue to tracks and purses will double with the stroke of a pen."

HANA has tried to get the business to understand that when money is taken away from the player, handle will go down. ADW gives money back to the player with player rewards, new technology, and so on. They should realize that by reshuffling money away from the player, the pie will not grow, it will grow smaller. As Mr. Cummings said in his report to the HBPA five years ago: 'this business does not realize that when they raise prices, the $100 of revenue is not $100 anymore. Revenue is not static'. It seems this fact, even with massive recent handle declines has simply not sunk in to some in this business. Thankfully, with increases in rewards, R and D expenditures rising in ADW, and other customer-centric investment, it has sunk in with many. Let's hope this continues.