Monday, November 23, 2009

HANA Survey - Tote, Rake and Poly

Nine in ten want tote problems addressed; Huge Majority worried about higher takeout, No consensus on artificial surfaces

We at HANA recently commissioned a comprehensive horseplayer survey of HANA members that we think might be the largest survey of its type done to date. It was constructed by a professional surveyor and it touched on myriad horseplayer issues. We are compiling much of it and it has been eye-opening to say the least. We’d like to share a few general themes. More will be reported later.

Overall we were extremely happy with both the response rate and the demographic breadth. Virtually every state and province had at least one responder and the response to sample size ratio allows us to say that the survey results are statistically valid with 95% confidence. Both standardbred and thoroughbred players were represented, and we noticed a lot of cross breed play. The average HANA member - like most horseplayers - is dedicated, older, bets or watches several times a week and has been playing and watching racing for many years. We were happy to have representation of the under 49 set though, and were equally happy to see both smaller players and larger players having a say.

For those that took the 50 question survey you know we touched on a great many issues (the questions themselves took us a couple of months to construct), and here are some highlights of your responses.

When we asked what your greatest concern was, and prompted you with six or seven possible answers, you chose “pari-mutuel takeout rates”. Only 3% of you said you were “not concerned at all” about this issue.

Your passion and love for the sport came through in question 14, where we gave you another list of things that you may or may not be concerned with. Six in ten of you were very or moderately concerned about the failings of the sport in capturing less and less of a national television audience. You want to see this sport grow, and to see it not growing, makes you very concerned.

For a couple of the other questions on the issues of the day, you showed you are solidly behind one thing, and completely split on another at the margins (we think this is not surprising when you read what they are):

For the question where you had to choose levels of agreement or disagreement: “The industry should spend the money to acquire a secure tote system fast enough to render odds in real time,” you spoke loudly and clearly. Almost 9 in 10 of you believe that this should be done. Years and years of betting a 7-2 or 3-1 shot at two minutes to post and seeing 9-5 or 5-2 at the half seems to have worn on us as horseplayers.

For the section on artificial surfaces it made for an interesting read. When we asked if you’d like us to do something about the issue and "make artificial surface racing a thing of the past", about one in four said “no”, one in four said “yes” and about half said they did not feel strongly either way.

We will be reporting more and more about the survey as time goes on here on the blog and at industry conferences, and we thank every one of you who took time out of your busy days to complete the survey.

As well, we will be coming back from time to time with questions to help us and we hope you participate again. Your voice is being heard- that we can guarantee.

If you would like to be a part of upcoming survey's it's easy. Join us at HANA here.

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