This piece about the CDI takeout increase was orignally posted on Doug MacPherson's blog Four-Forty. Doug is an 18-year-old high school student from Ontario, and he can be found on Twitter @LDMcPherson. In addition to writing on his blog, Doug has also contributed to HANA's Horseplayer Monthly.
I'm going to keep this short.
Churchill Downs is raising takeout rates. 17.5% WPS, and 22% for exotics. Just like every other takeout increase, they claim it's because they need to sustain purses, and just like every other takeout increase it won't work because bettors will bet less. It's simple math. It's terrible business.
I am not a big money gambler. In 2014 I have bet $624 in total. I don't make a difference to Churchill Downs. But I do make a difference to myself. If I bet into a high takeout pool, I hurt myself because my potential winnings decrease. Because of the increase, I won't bet on Churchill's races, or on any races at any of their other tracks. Why would I as a bettor play a track where I will not win as much money?
Not only will I refuse to bet any Churchill races (including the Kentucky Derby), I will tell other horseplayers about the increase. Many players don't know much about takeout. I will explain to them what Churchill is doing, and why it's bad for them as horseplayers. If they decide they want to support bettors, the people who fund racing, they will follow me in boycotting CDI. If they enjoy Churchill's racing and want to continue playing it, that's fine. It's their choice. The least I can do is tell inform them of the takeout increase.
As horseplayers who want to succeed, and also want the sport to succeed, it's important to let any track that wants to raise prices on us know that we will not meekly accept a takeout increase that will do nothing but hurt horse racing in the long run. Bye bye, CDI. Thank you for hurting the sport we love.