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Friday, October 30, 2009

Time for A 'New Deal'

We all have seen articles which explain how a lower takeout would benefit racing, but it is a rare thing indeed when such an article is written by someone connected to racetrack management. John Berry, the publicity director for Pompano Park, wrote a column calling for a 'new deal' at racetracks. In his article, Berry correctly reports that racing blames everyone but themselves for the problems the industry has with declining attendance and handle and further explains that racetracks are quick to go to the legislature for help when the problem can be corrected by themselves. The problem according to Berry? Racetracks are bankrupting their customers with a high takeout.

Berry calls for a new deal in racing. His solution, 'take a tinge' of the VLT revenue and use it to reduce the takeout rate to stimulate wagering and possibly attract gamblers to the track. In his article, he shows how the track (and horsemen) would benefit from the increased churn. Many businesses, including the casino industry, have learned that discount pricing works. Take a little less profit on each item you sell to stimulate your business and you end up making more money overall on the volume. The same applies to racing.

We are not naive to think things are going to change soon with respect to takeout. Changes like Berry suggests won't occur until racing treats fans as customers instead of gamblers who can be used and abused. But, make no mistake about it, seeing a racetrack executive write a column like this is significant.

The question is how bad will things get before they see the light?


Anonymous said...

The Pompano racino this guy works for doesn't allow betting on thoroughbreds until 6pm....ummmm.

Pacingguy said...

I don't know if Pompano has a choice. Pompano Park is close to Gulfstream Park and if you look at the simulcast calendar for Gulstream, they don't take any harness signals. My guess is by statute or mutual agreement, Gulfstream doesn't get to simulcast harness racing and Pompano is not allowed to simulcast the runners before 6pm.

Degenerate Blogger said...

Florida obviously doesn't get it as Michigan had the same archaic law on it's books before they saw the light and changed it many years ago. What are these tracks afraid of? The sport can't afford any restrictions when it comes to letting patrons wager what they want, when they want, within reason. Time restraints have no reason.

Pacingguy said...

You are making an assumption that tracks and breeds work together. Far from it, these tracks compete against each other as they are in the same geographical area (22 miles apart) of Florida. They don't care about the patrons. If they allowed Pompano to accept bets on the runners during the day time, some of Gulfstream's handle would be diverted to Pompano and vice versa if you are a trotting fan.