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Friday, September 18, 2009

Putting All Horseplayers on Equal Footing

There should be a notice posted when you log on to your ADW or when you enter a simulcast location: "Wagering through a simulcast location or an ADW may put you at an unfair disadvantage."

Of course you will never see such a notice and such a bold statement certainly requires clarification. Basically, if you don't wager on-track you may be at a competitive disadvantage to those who are. This statement is not referring to the absurdity of having to pay a 5% (or more) surcharge on winning bets at NY Off track betting locations. What this statement is referring to is the fact a bettor at a racetrack or another simulcast location may have the opportunity to wager more effectively than you.

The operator of your wagering site may be requiring you to wager more on a bet than the host track requires. On the most simple level, a host track may allow a Win wager to be bet for $1 (perhaps only through a self service wagering machine) yet your ADW may require a minimum wager of $2. Some tracks offer a $1 Daily Double yet the ADW requires you to bet at least $2 on the wager. Granted on wagers like this the impact may not seem great, but it may mean you need to allocate your wagering dollars differently than you would if you were betting elsewhere. It is one thing if you had to bet at a teller where salaries need to be paid, but with the technology deployed there should be less expense involved in processing a wager. Yes, your ADW or simulcast location needs to purchase the right to offer wagering on the host track's signal but the host track has higher costs to produce the racing product. If the host track can afford to offer a $1 minimum, your ADW or simulcast location certainly can.

Where it gets more egregious is on exotic wagers. At the fictional Wagering Downs, they offer a $.10 Superfecta. This means at the track, you can box a four horse Superfecta for only $2.40. However, at your simulcast location, Gamblers OTB, the minimum wager on a Superfecta is $1, meaning for you to cover the four horses in a box, it will cost you $24.00. Granted, the $.10 wager will pay 1/10th of what you will collect but the fact is as the day goes along, you may not have as much to wager with. So to save money, maybe you are forced to key the Superfecta so it will cost you only $6.00. So while you have the four horses selected, your key horse finishes second so the bettor at Wagering Downs is able to cash a ticket for something while you get to rip your ticket up. What about that Pick-3, 4, 5, 6, or 7? If the track allows a $.50 or $1 minimum but your ADW has a $2 minimum, your $100 buys a lot less combinations than the person at the track. It could be the difference of a Pick-7 being taken down or not; the difference between winning or losing.

Any track or ADW accepting wagers on another track's signal should be required to offer wagers in the same denominations as they are offered on track and any track sending their signal out should allow wagering on any bet offered by the track provided the wager is legal in the state the wager is being made.

Winning is hard enough. I don't think it is unreasonable to be on equal footing with those we are wagering against.

I will be away the rest of the weekend. Enjoy the weekend and may all your wagers be winning ones.

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