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Monday, February 28, 2011

Racinos, Are you Listening?

One thing which always escaped me was how racinos and horsemen refuse to lower their takeout rates to low levels, meaning to casino game levels, to stimulate interest in the racing product?  After all, how much of a purse cut will horsemen take when racino subsidies pay up to 95% of the purses being offered.  Just think, if you were racing for a 0% takeout rate, your $10,000 purse may become $9,500.  Is that too much of a sacrifice to stimulate interest in your livlihood?

Well, Hollywood Greyhound Track (Mardi Gras Racetrack and Casino) has realized it.  They just announced that the payout rate for win, place, and show wagering on their races will be up to 91% starting March 3.  That is right, a 9% takeout rate so payoffs will be between 90 and 91% of the total pool (takeout rates for other wagers are unknown).

Now granted, greyhound racing is struggling big time these days with small pools and the costs involved with putting on greyhound races is a fraction as it is for horse racing, so they really have little to lose by offering a 9% takeout rate but then again, what do horse racing racinos have to lose by offering takeout rates like this?

It will be interesting to see Mardi Gras Racetrack in Florida does with the reduced takeout.  If successful, will other racinos see the light and offer casino like takeout rates?  Time will tell.  My guess is Tioga Downs will be the first harness track to offer these rates as last year they indicated a desire to bring harness racing to a takeout rate equivalent to their slots.  Of course, it will require horsemen to go along with any such reductions.

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