Monday, November 14, 2011

Support Tracks That Support Players

The above headline came from a horseplayer named Tom. He posted it in a thread at where players were discussing the Texas ADW situation. 

Tom makes a valid point. The people making decisions for racing do not bet. As a result, many of their decisions have an anti-player bias.

In September, 2011, a new state law went into effect making it illegal for Texas residents to wager on horse racing from outside the racing enclosure. Translation? ADW wagering might soon become a thing of the past for horseplayers unfortunate enough to be living in Texas.

In September, 2011, Turf Paradise raised their takeout 0.75%. Apparently, Turf Paradise management didn’t think win place show takeout of 20.00% (the highest of any thoroughbred track in North America) was high enough. Win place show takeout at Turf Paradise is now 20.75% ( and still the highest of any thoroughbred track in North America.)

On January 01, 2011, a new state law went into effect raising takeout on multi-horse thoroughbred bets in California. Takeout on 2 horse bets was increased from 20.68% to 22.68% (a 9.7% increase!) Takeout on wagers involving 3 or more horses was raised 14.5% from 20.68% to 23.68%. California’s takeout increase was the brainchild of the TOC and CHRB. The effect of that increase was customer badwill on a nationwide scale and a noticeable downturn in handle. Santa Anita was forced to layoff some employees as a direct result of that takeout increase. Management from Santa Anita, Del Mar, Golden Gate, and Hollywood Park have all apparently seen enough and have now begun the process of asking the TOC and the CHRB for takeout reductions. (The final chapter to this story has not yet been written.)

In 2009, a new state law in Virginia went into effect imposing a 10% source market fee on ADW handle generated by Virginia residents. Horseplayers unfortunate enough to reside in Virginia discovered that ADWs no longer had enough room margin-wise to offer rebates. As a result larger players from Virginia were forced to send their wagering dollars elsewhere.

In September, 2007, a new state law went into effect in Arizona. That state law made it a felony to wager on a horse race from outside the racing enclosure. That particular law turned a lot of Arizona horseplayers into ex-horseplayers. In January, 2009 I attended a series of meetings where Yavapai Downs and the AZ HBPA presented a proposal to the AZ Dept. of Racing seeking a carve out in state law to make ADW wagering for AZ horseplayers a reality. That measure was shot down (and was not supported by Turf Paradise.)

Texas, Arizona, California, and Virginia. Each of those four states recently enacted new state laws written by people who do not bet. All of those new state laws have a decided anti-player bias.

What are you actually supporting with your handle dollars? (You decide.)

On the other side of the coin, here are examples of tracks that have recently demonstrated they want your business:

For the start of their 2011-2012 meet, Tampa Bay Downs announced they are reducing takeout on WPS wagers to 17.0% from 17.5%. They also announced they are implementing a new pick 5 wager at 15.0% takeout (to replace their pick 6 which was at 18% last year.)

Charles Town announced that takeout for trifectas, superfectas, pick threes, and pick fours will be lowered from 25% to 22% effective Sept. 17. The drop of three percentage points reflects an overall takeout reduction of 12% for the four bets. Read more

For their fall 2011 meet, Hawthorne announced a reduced takeout pick 5 at 14%. Hawthorne also announced lowering of the Place Pick 9, Pick 6, and High 5 takeout to 20% from 25% and reduced the minimum wager on the pick 6 to $1.

At the start of their 2011 meet, Calder introduced a pick 5 wager at on 12.0% (the lowest pick 5 takeout of any major thoroughbred track.) Calder GM John Marshall campaigned without success for further takeout reductions as he was met with resistance from Florida horsemen.

At the start of their 2010 meet, Monmouth introduced a new pick 5 wager at 15.0%.

Last year, for the start of their 2010-2011 meet, Tampa Bay Downs announced they were reducing pick 3, pick 4, and pick 6 takeout to 18.0% from 19.0%.

Tampa Bay Downs, Charles Town, Calder, Hawthorne, and Monmouth... five tracks actively demonstrating they want your business.

Tom is right.

Support Tracks that Support Players.

Jeff Platt
President, HANA


David Zenner said...

In 2011, Arlington Park lowered its Pick 5 takeout to 15% and dropped it to a 50-c minimum. Also dropped the High-5 takeout to 15% and the minimum wager to 10-c.

Arlington also dropped the Pick 4 minimum wager to 50-c.

Anonymous said...

Cherries: Hastings for low takeout, Arlington too.

Lemons: NYRA for not lowering that 1% that was there for OTBs

King of all Lemons: TOC/CHRB for arguably the worst business move in the history of horse racing.

Greg Blanchard said...

Don't forget about your friends here in Canada at the Western Fair District. We offer a guaranteed pool Pick-4 and a Pick-5, both at a 15% takeout. Our actual track takeout on both of those wagers is 11.7%!

Anonymous said...

Shame on us players if we don't support the tracks that want our business. All of this talk is pointless if the TOC gets any of our money.

Rex Kusler said...
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