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Monday, June 1, 2009

Bring the V75/V64 to the US - A Proposal

In Sweden and all of Europe (a few locations in the United States can bet on it), the V75 and V64 draws the attention of the public. For a minimal bet, the potential is there to win a lot of money; the pools are always in the millions. The minimum wager for the V64 is $0.20 and for the V75 it is $0.10. You share the jackpot if you pick the winner in all the designated races, but if not, there are two consolation pay-offs depending if you miss one or two of the winners. If no one picks all the winners, there is a carryover. For more specifics, check the official rules of the V75 (you will also see the V64 rules) as they exist in Sweden.

Why doesn't the United States have the same type of wager? Here are two wagers that can draw a lot of new interest in harness racing and we don't take advantage of it. Yes, I realize the chance of winning the V75 with one ten cent wager is highly unlikely, but if you see how many people play PowerBall, you see people are willing to take a chance. Well, why don't we offer the public a chance to play a game where they can play their favorite numbers or, if they desire, handicap the races to make their selections?

Since no one has yet made a move to bring this wager to the United States on a large scale and to use it to promote racing here, here is a way we can introduce the V75 (and possibly add the V64) to the United States and inject a new interest in harness racing.

  1. Tie the races to the Grand Circuit. Each Saturday, the V75 would be held at a track where the Grand Circuit is racing. This will ensure some weeks the V75 would be held on a half mile, 5/8 mile or mile track changing the handicapping process each week as well as give each host track a chance for some exposure.
  2. The hosting track will have to have a 'premium' race card those days. The best Grand Circuit races and top class horses will race that day to put on the best display as possible.
  3. To become a host track you would have to agree to limit the takeout on the V75 to 10%.
  4. The Grand Circuit will establish two agreements. One agreement will set the price for simulcast or ADW partners to carry the entire V75 day card at the track in question; the second agreement will set the price to just offer the V75 wager. All tracks will have to agree to use these agreements for any V75 day they hold. If they have already have an agreement with the receiving facility they will need to use whichever contract gives the receiving facility the best price. The goal here is to maximize exposure of the races.
  5. All venues accepting wagers on these races will need to show the races; this is not just a lottery ticket they are selling.
  6. The horsemen at the sending and receiving tracks will have to agree to allow any track or ADW willing to agree to the simulcast agreements access to the V75 days. They will maintain the right to veto simulcast partners any other day. This will need to be negotiated in the contracts with the horsemen and the horsemen will need to give up their right to revoke approval as long as their contract ins in effect.
  7. The ADWs will need to agree to give up exclusitivity for V75 days allowing any simulcast outlet or ADW partner willing to agree to the standardized agreement to take part. This will maximize exposure.
  8. Realizing national TV exposure is unlikely, a show like the one used in Sweden will need to be developed so people may watch the races after the card is completed. Make it available to an ESPN type cable channel as well as offer it online.
  9. Draw and finalize the cards at least five days ahead of time. This will allow maximum publicity of the week's races and allow for advance wagering.
  10. One last thing. Allow the gambler to make one ten or twenty cent wager. Yes, I realize the cost of processing one bet can seem like it is not worth it, but the fact is you are getting people to come to the track and/or possibly exposing someone to harness racing for the first time. Isn't this cheaper than offering a free $2 bet to entice someone to show up?

I know I am calling this a United States wager. If there is a way to expand this wager to include Canadian tracks, that would be fine too.

It seems to me this should not be too hard to implement. Yes, you need to deal with state regulators, but being shown how this will bring additional revenue to the state, I can't see how it would be a problem.

UPDATE: Since the 5 out of 7 selection payout was too small (anything under 10SEK = $1.33) to be paid out, according to the V75 rules, that money is rolled over into the next V75 pool. This means before a dime is bet, the pool starts of at $12.5 million. Tell me that wouldn't attract interest here?

Am I missing something here? Do you see another way to get a V75 wager in the states? Feel free to share your thoughts.

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