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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Press Release: HANA Supports Racing Development Plan


Horseplayers Association of North America Offers Support for the Racing Development and Sustainability Plan

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


(September 26, 2010, Charlottesville, VA) The Horseplayers Association of North America (HANA) would like to endorse and offer its full support for Ontario harness racing’s “Racing Development and Sustainability Plan”.

This ground-breaking plan, proposed by forward-thinking horse owners in the Canadian province of Ontario, allows for a slice of purse money (primarily from slot machines) to be used to promote racing through several potential customer-focused initiatives, including:

* Seeded Pools/Jackpot Bets (e.g. lower effective takeout)
* Exchange Wagering
* Handicapping Leagues and Championships with Larger Prizes
* Customer retention techniques and promotion


When slots were initially passed in many jurisdictions, racing was given a warning that handle on their core product would fall due to the presence of an attractive lower takeout competing product on premises. As more and more racino’s emerged (using essentially the exact same business model), horseplayers and industry watchers have urged racing to give a portion of slot money back to the customer, not only to directly address their needs and wants, but more importantly to keep horse racing betting on sound economic footing. Until now this advice has been largely ignored. In just eight short years handle on Canadian harness racing has fallen from $719M to $431M. Conversely, since slots were introduced in Ontario in 1999, almost $2B has been distributed in purses.

“Our members have been calling for tracks and horse owners to do more on the consumer demand side using slot/VLT revenue for some time now. We are extremely encouraged and thankful that Ontario horse owners are stepping up to the plate by looking to cultivate their customer base - both the existing ones and the ones who have left - with some of their slot money” said HANA President Jeff Platt.

“Answering a customer’s needs and wants is not a radical idea, it is good business. We feel if Standardbred Canada uses achievable means to lower takeout, seed pools and offer customers a reason to play your product and attend your racetracks, you will win in the long run. We would love to work with horse owners in Ontario in any possible way we can once this new plan is enacted.”

Barry Meadow is a member of the HANA Advisory Board and is a long time bettor and author of Success At The Harness Races and Professional Harness Betting. He echoes Jeff's thoughts. "It's good to see an initiative that takes the most important part of any business--the customer--into account. Anything that makes a bettor want to bet more, or more often, will help the industry."

If passed, the new Ontario Plan is slated to go into effect on January 1st, 2011. HANA will be keeping all of our members updated on its progress.

If you would like to comment on their plan or learn more, please visit www.standardbredcanada.ca.

The Horseplayers Association of North America is a grassroots group of horseplayers, not affiliated with any organization, who are not pleased with the direction the game has taken. HANA believes that both tracks and horseman groups have become bogged down with industry infighting and have completely forgotten something: The importance of the customer. HANA hopes, through proactive change on several key issues (including but not limited to), open signal access, lower effective takeouts, wagering integrity, affordable data and customer appreciation, the industry’s handle losses can be reversed. HANA is currently made up of over 1700 horseplayers (both harness and thoroughbred) from almost all states and Canadian provinces. It currently represents over $75,000,000 of yearly racing handle.

Our web address is http://www.horseplayersassociation.org and interested horseplayers can sign up there for free. We are horseplayers, just like you and we are trying to make a difference. We need, appreciate, and ask humbly for your support.


Note: A special thanks to members (you know who you are) who were focused on slot programs being used for a better means for our sport.

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