Friday, March 27, 2015

A Comment from an Industry Analyst

We received a comment on yesterday's blog piece from Michael - a long time Thoroughbred and harness horseplayer and an industry employee - who has been changing the way the sport (in this case, harness racing) is being wagered. Michael has been the impetus behind some lower takeout wagers, which have seen some tremendous growth.

The industry has come a long way regarding takeout and the best operators have responded by listening to horseplayers. Five years ago if you wanted to play into a big pool with a low takeout there was the Meadowlands Pick Four offered at 15 per cent. That was it. Take a look at the low takeout wagering landscape today.

     Last Saturday night, The USTA Strategic Wagering platform offered these three Pick Four pools, all on one mile ovals with a reduced takeout. The Meadowlands pool was $80,451 , Balmoral Park followed with a pool of $34,659 and Cal Expo closed out the night with a pool of $41,792.  Earlier in the week two half mile tracks sported very solid Pick Four pools as well. On Wednesday March 18, the Northfield Park pool swelled to $19,535 five days after the Maywood Park Pick Four pool totaled a season high $19,161. Combine that with the success Greg is having with his low takeout wagers at Western Fair and you see that horseplayers are supporting these wagers passionately.

     Low takeout jackpot wagers have made headlines too. Last Saturday one player won over $65,000 for a dime at Cal Expo and two weeks ago one lucky player won $200,000 at The Meadowlands on a twenty cent bet. Pompano had a twenty cent jackpot bet pay $146,288 in February. This all pales in comparison to what could happen at Woodbine onSaturday, April 4.

     In the event that a single winner does not hit the Jackpot High Five in the next three racing days, Woodbine will offer a mandatory payout the night before Easter Sunday. With a 15 per cent takeout and a twenty cent minimum, I estimate a pool of $3,000,000. More importantly, it is a certainty that the bet will pay out significantly more than the money that is wagered on that night because of the combination of  low takeout and a carryover, creating the rarest of wagering opportunities.

     Using the $3,000,000 estimated pool as an example, an $800,000 carryover combined with $2,200,000 in new money would create a net pool of $2,670,000. This example would show a surplus of $470,000, making the player advantage over 21%. The low takeout is the sole reason this opportunity exists for the players and WEG should be applauded for their efforts and their vision in this endeavor.

     In conclusion, always remember that the horseplayer support of these low takeout bets the last five years made it possible for what you see today. And for your unwavering support of this industry, we thank you.

Michael Antoniades

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