PlayersBoycott

Alert!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

An open letter to Horseplayers

Keeneland is raising takeout. Win, Place, and Show to 17.5% from 16% (an increase of 9.38%.)

All Exotics except the pick5 to 22% from 19% (an increase of 15.79%.)

HANA surveyed its membership about the Keeneland takeout increase.

When asked whether or not HANA should organize a boycott the results were:

  • 63% Yes
  • 28% No
  • 9% Other


When asked whether or not HANA should use the Playersboycott.org site, the results were:

  • 77% Yes
  • 17% No
  • 6% Other


As a horseplayer I've decided to join the boycott at the PlayersBoycott.org site because I believe higher takeout is harmful to the long term health of thoroughbred racing.

As a horseplayer I believe sitting on the sidelines is not an option for me because everybody in the industry is waiting to see how players react to this.

I believe that if a clear message isn't sent: Not just Keeneland -- but other tracks -- will have takeout increases too.

When we boycotted Churchill in 2014 because of their takeout increase: They were down a solid 25% outside of the Derby.

How much of that was the market speaking and how much came from us drawing attention to the takeout increase is hard to say. But we sent a pretty clear message.

I expect Keeneland Fall 2017 numbers to mirror Churchill 2014 numbers - and be down a similar 25% to 30%.

But that may not be a strong enough message.

I believe that by getting the message out to as many horseplayers as possible -- we can knock Keeneland numbers down significantly.

I am asking you to join us by not betting one track -- Keeneland -- for one month -- October 2017. That's it.

If enough players do that:

I believe that together we can convince Keeneland to reverse their decision.

--Jeff Platt, HANA President

Monday, August 14, 2017

What Horseplayers have been saying about the Keeneland Takeout Increase

I've been getting lots of comments and emails about the Keeneland takeout increase.

They tend to fall into two categories:

Category #1:
--No need to boycott. Just make everyone aware of the situation and let people decide on their own.
--I believe HANA should go on a campaign to inform the handicapper of these hikes using all of its marketing power. 
--Yes, this is a stab in the back to horseplayers. But there's no need to boycott. Just let the market do your talking for you.

Category #2:
--I am livid Keeneland did this. Definitely boycott. And keep boycotting until they reverse their decision.
--And boycott Churchill too while you're at it.
--Use the playersboycott.org website and spread the word for bettors nationwide to not bet a dime with Keeneland.
--Boycott. Maybe pressure from HANA and another meet of declining handle will force management to reverse this decision. 

My thoughts and comments:

The above selected comments were cut and pasted from emails that I received. They capture perfectly what a lot of horseplayers have been telling me.

If you're a bettor you shouldn't be surprised that I've been getting about two emails that belong in category #2 for every one email that belongs in category #1.

Based on that - and the numbers from the survey:

I'm beginning to suspect Keeneland may have vastly underestimated the amount of player badwill they've created over this.

--Jeff Platt, HANA President

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

HANA Statement on the Keeneland Takeout Increase

It was announced today that long-time horseplayer friendly racetrack Keeneland has raised their takeout rates. Win wagering, which was at 16% takeout, will now be taxed at 17.5%, while all other bets will go from 19% to 22%. The pick 5 takeout, previously at 19%, will be 15%.

This fall, Keeneland’s exacta and daily double takeouts will be among the highest in North America.

HANA has also learned that in addition to the takeout increase: Keeneland will be raising their host fees as well.

In 2009, outgoing Keeneland President Nick Nicholson said, “We’re very gratified to know that our efforts to promote large, quality fields, a wide variety of wagering options and a reasonable takeout rate have been recognized….. Keeneland is enthusiastic about the future and we’re committed to getting even better.”

Keeneland, as a non-profit under the leadership of strong executives like Nick Nicholson, had always placed an emphasis on their betting customers, with an eye to the long term health of the sport. Wagering customers were considered a part of the economic engine of racing, were catered to, and always felt home at Keeneland. This, in part, spurred handle increases in a sport suffering massive handle losses. Their strategy was clearly working.  Now, it appears that the new management team has gone the way of so many corporate racetracks by only looking at the short term numbers, and listening to stakeholders who yell the loudest.

"I was part of a group from HANA that spent a week visiting Keeneland back in April 2009," recalled HANA President Jeff Platt.  "On the day we left Nick Nicholson presented our group with a Keeneland poster which he signed. Above his signature are the words, 'Horseplayers will always be welcome at Keeneland.'  Right now I'm not sure if that's true anymore."

The Horseplayers Association of North America is extremely disappointed with the new Keeneland management's decision and will have further announcements after talking with our members.