Twelve dollars sounds like a lot of money doesn't it? It is keeping people from Staten Island away from Bayonne to bet and quite honestly, would keep me home as well. We recognize the barriers a $12 toll may have regarding people coming to play the races but some tracks refuse to accept the fact high take out rates are a barrier to getting people to play their races. One example of this is The Meadows outside of Pittsburgh, PA where they charge an outrageous 35% take out on their trifectas.
Let's look at a simplified example using the old methodology of calculating takeout as for this illustration, it is sufficient. What we have is a total trifecta pool of $5,000 which considering the amount of the take out, is not unrealistic. The 9-8-7 trifecta comes in with only $20 wagered on it.
Amount Wagered on 9-8-7
Gross - Winning Wagers
Take Out Amount
Pay Off Per $1
The difference in the pay off in this hypothetical trifeca between 35% and a relatively reasonable 27% (when compared to 35%) is $19.92 per dollar wagered on the winning wagered; almost $20.
So a person makes a conscious decision the $12 to cross a bridge to go to a track or an off-track wagering facility is too much as regardless of how they may do on a particular day; they need to subtract $12 from their net profit/loss for the day which makes no sense to them. Well, in our Meadows example, if the person hits the fictional trifecta described above, we are making them pay a $20 toll for playing the race. A $20 toll which may be the difference between winning or losing on a particular day. Granted, a bridge toll is a 'hard' expense while the takeout is a 'soft' expense, but regardless, it is an impediment for a person wagering on horses because it makes it harder for them to come out ahead each time they come to the track. At a certain point, the gambler is going to make a conscious decision, the losses are too much to keep on playing. They either are going to go away or play a different game.
Yes, there are purses, salaries, and other expenses to be paid, so take out will always be here and quite honestly, it will always be more than a casino game, but pricing the product more realistically would be a wise decision. After all, that 'soft' expense always gets factored in at the end of day when the gambler looks to see if they were a winner or a loser. The fewer losing days means the gambler plays longer. A lower 'soft' expense means fewer players tapped out. A lower 'soft' expense keeps a customer.