Hartley Henderson has been around the block. He boils down the reasons for racing's decline in five bullets.
The high takeout at the racetrack
– It's quite shocking that the takeout on any win, place or show bet
still averages around 20 cents. That is the equivalent of betting on a
sporting event where both sides are listed at -150. And for exotic bets
the takeout goes as high as 35 cents ..... All bettors want is a
product that they can win at and they don't view horse racing as the
product to do so. Casino games take out as little as 2 cents on the
dollar on blackjack and poker to as much as 5 cents on slots and sports
betting generally takes out around 5 cents on the dollar. So betting on a
product with a 5 times higher takeout than the worst casino game is
just viewed as unacceptable by today's youth, who are very
mathematically inclined as well as being more savvy with their gambling
To read all five, please click here.
North American racing is doomed to destruction as it fails to attract new patrons and alienates those that remain. One can look to other forms of parimutuel wagering to see what the future bodes.
Given the recent trends of reduced access and additional costs, I suspect it won't be long until the opportunity cost of playing outweighs the value I extract from it. The industry will not force me back to the track and they will not succeed in getting me to play without incentives (i.e. bonuses, meaningful rebates, low takeout player's pools, etc.).
The industry is trapped in a 1980's time warp and thinks it can survive using an antiquated business model. Liberal racino subsidies, in a perverse way, have made racing even less attractive to customers as tracks compete for alternative gambling dollars instead of new customers. Thus, racing refuses to deliver a product that resonates with a modern audience.
Harley Henderson identifies catastrophic injuries as one of his five reasons. He incorrectly states "Statistics show only a small difference in injuries as a result of synthetic surfaces..." This is way wrong. The Jockey Club fact book has data from over 1.5 million starts showing that dirt racing is twice as likely than synthetics to result in death of a racehorse. You can look it up for yourself in the Jockey Clun Fact Book. This kind of assertion by Henderson calls into question his knowledge.
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