Today Arlington Park made some player-friendly changes to the betting menu for 2011. We had a conversation with Ken Kiehn, Arlington’s VP of Sales Marketing and Guest Services about them, and more.
Lower takeout and a new wager to hopefully attract casual on-track players are two of the things that Arlington is trying this year.
The pick 5 and Super High Five have both been reduced to 15% takeout, with the hopes of attracting horseplayer dollars via the simulcast market.
“We held several focus groups with customers and asked if they would like a couple of lower takeout bets, which they did, so we responded” said Ken Kiehn.
Arlington is the second Churchill Downs controlled track to offer bettors a lower takeout, as Calder recently has initiated a 12% pick 5.
“There are a couple of ways to hopefully raise revenue, take a higher percentage of a slightly lower handle or try and increase handle and take a lower percentage. We feel that looking at all facets of our product to grow handle is paramount.” Kiehn said.
Newer fans have not been left out this meet with the interesting new “Last Call Wager”. This wager will be offered on the second last race of the day, sold on-track by dedicated ticket sellers with wireless equipment. The bet is a win place show wager of $2, $4 and $6. The hope is the new player will cash at least a show bet and make a few dollars. However, to add to the experience, if the customer loses his/her "last call" bet, the ticket can be exchange for a free beer, soda or other refreshment.
“This is something we thought we’d try. A lot of fans leave after the sixth or seventh so maybe it can attract them to stay longer and have a better time.”
For serious horseplayers, Arlington hopes that field size will be better this meet and they are cautiously optimistic. As most Arlington players know, the presence of Frank Calabrese horses at low odds was something that tended to be a complaint on various chat boards last season. The leading owners charges were formidable, and low odds winners permeated the landcape last season. This season Mr. Calabrese does not have any Arlington stalls, but the horse population seems to be sound.
“Stall applications seem strong so we hope we can offer a more attractive product in terms of field size this meet. The early part of the meet we anticipate being better than in years past, but time will tell”
Lower takeout, a hopeful bump in field size, lower denominations for wagers and a newbie bet - add Arlington Park to the list of 2011 tracks that seem to be asking for your business.
For more on the betting menu and 2011 changes, please visit here.