Horseplayers have become more sophisticated than they were years ago. Yet, we still treat the gamblers like they don't know what they want. Sure, we offer new multi-leg wagers, yet in many ways we have not been given the gambler what they want. With advances in technology, there is things track management and the tote companies can do to empower the horseplayer who is helping finance the "improvement of the breed". Here are a few suggestions:
The Coupled Entry Dilemma - If we are going to continue to have coupled entries, let's protect the horse player from getting stuck with a horse they didn't want. Many of us have had the situation where you came upon a two or three horse coupled entry and there was one horse you liked a lot and quite honestly, the others really had no business being in the race. Come post time and the horse you wagered on is a late scratch and you are left holding a ticket on a horse you feel has no chance. Sure enough, you just made a donation.
With the technology available, there is no reason why a person can't make a wager on a particular horse they liked. Let's say there is a three horse entry and the bettor likes the 1A. The gambler should be able to wager the 1A and if the horse races, the bet is treated like it is now, a bet on all the horses in the entry. If the 1A gets scratched and the wager is not a multi-race proposition, the gambler get's his money refunded.
The Multi-Race Scratch - Another dilemma most of us have encountered at one time or another. You have bet the Pick-6 and after the first leg of the wager, a horse you selected is scratched in the third leg. You wish you could change your wager to your second choice in the race but the rules indicate you get the post time favorite. Sure enough, the horse you were thinking about wins and the post time favorite runs up the track.
There is no reason why someone should be stuck with a horse they don't like. If you bet via your computer or at a self service terminal, the horseplayer should be able to select an alternate or two for each leg of the wager. If you select an alternate, if your horse is scratched, your top alternate should be substituted for your original selection. If all your alternates in a race are scratched or you don't pick an alternate and your original selection is scratched, then you should be given the post time favorite. If you are wagering with a teller, then you need to fill out a bet slip or you will be given the post time favorite.
The Parlay - Like many people, you may handicap the race card of your favorite race track the day before the races. Well, tonight you have a family function you need to attend but there are three horses you like tonight in different races. Why can't a bettor wager a $10 parlay where if he/she wins on the first race, all the proceeds get wagered on the next race selected and so on? After all, if Louie the bookmaker offers this service, shouldn't a track offer the same opportunity? A side benefit for the tracks is by allowing a parlay; your handle has the potential of increasing. Let’s assume the gambler was sharp that night and all three horses won. Without a parlay, the gambler may bet $10 to win on each race. He contributes $30 to the handle. With the parlay, the gambler would have contributed $130 to the handle ($10 bet on the first race, $30 on the second race, $90 on the third race)
Conditional Wagering - Some ADWs offer this option so tracks should be competing against them. You like the four horse in the second race but not enough if the odds are less than 2-1? Ever thought a long shot had a chance, but didn't want to wager on it unless the odds were more than 10-1? Condition wagering is what the doctor ordered. Much of the last minute wagering takes place because the bettors want to make sure they get a good value for their wager. If you offered conditional racing, wagering could stop at post time and you avoid the situation where a horse’s odds change twice during the race, removing the perception that people are betting after the fact. If racetracks offered conditional wagering, it may reduce the demand for fixed odds wagering or market agering occurring in offshore accounts.
While racetracks at present can't compete against ADWs when it comes to rebates, they don't need to force our sophisticated horseplayers to the ADWs because they offer options tracks are unable to provide.