There was a nice bookend of pieces linked from Equidaily.com yesterday.
The first from columnist and horseplayer Richard Eng spoke of the Monmouth experiment this year. Like quite a few people in racing, and we have spoken of this many times on the blog, Richard believes that subsidy money in a grand experiment should be used to subsidize demand as well.
What I suggest is a reduction to 10 percent takeout in the straight pools, win, place and show. The takeout is currently 17 percent. The 7 percent difference is in essence a subsidy for horseplayers. Between higher returns to bettors and more handle because of an improved racing product, the Monmouth churn in straight pools should explode. The increased revenue will theoretically offset givebacks by the track and simulcast outlets.
Considering Monmouth is courageous enough to make this great experiment, why not include us players, too?
Monmouth has a fairly good takeout grade of C+ for 2009. They have, as has the Meadowlands, the best pick 4 takes around, and they provide value. But I, like Rich wonder, if they go to a 50 day meet, get field size up, and lower takeout, they could easily be the best (or near best) track to play in terms of horseplayer value in North America. If their meet goes well this year it would be something to think about for 2011.
Second up, the Trackmaster blog has a piece on playing from home.
When I’m out at the track these days, it’s mainly to have a good time and enjoy the sport up close with family or friends. My gambling results are usually not that great and I’m ok with that, because when I play seriously it’s from home. Most of the time I’m out with people who are relatively unfamiliar with the sport and wagering in general so most of my time is spent educating them on the finer points and how to place bets. I love introducing new people to the sport and if my handicapping suffers from it, so be it.
I could not agree more. My time at the track now is a social one. And I do not mind that a bit. The track, its sights and smells, the camaraderie, the splitting tickets to have some fun, is all good.
He makes a good point about laptops, however. Tracks are simply not laptop friendly, and with so many people using them for race replays, software and the like, it is something that tracks must do better. I remember going to a track about a year ago on a vacation and asked if I could plug in my laptop and use it at a simulcast center. I had all my forms, software and everything I use to handicap on the computer. After some time, the manager came out and said no. I was planning to give them some good revenue, by betting through the windows but they refused. Because I had done so much work I went to my hotel room, made my bets through an ADW for the races, and that was that.
I am not sure that is a proper way to do business. When bettors want to give you money and support your live racing, you should never turn them away.