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Sunday, November 27, 2016

Can't Beat the ADW Experience

Over at there is an interesting column titled "A Funny Thing Happened on the way to the ADW" and it highlights some of the reasons why it is better to bet with an ADW when at the track, something which is the bane of most tracks.  After all, tracks earn a pittance on those wagers as compared to wagering through the windows at the track.  Here are several of those reasons:

  • Don’t have to stand behind a guy buying $40 worth of 10-cent Superfectas
  • Can wait until the last minute without worrying about being shut-out
  • Don’t have to stand in line again to cash
  • Can cancel your bet with a couple of clicks
  • Rebates!

While the column talks about people using their phones to wager at the track, it could have just as easily been titled "Reasons Why it is Better to Stay Home and Play the Horses" and it highlights a big problem racetracks have to deal with, one admittedly they will be unable to overcome.  Racetracks can't compete with ADWs when it comes to the wagering experience, the only difference is the ability to see the horses 'up close'.  Unfortunately, for most gamblers, after they've seen the races live a couple of times, nothing beats the convenience of wagering from home.

So if racing were to cede wagering to the ADWs what is racing to do?

Racing needs to change the funding source for purses.  The only way this can be done is to form their own (or in partnership) ADW so they are able to keep a larger portion of the wagering dollar which up to now has been given away to the existing ADWs.  I have talked ad nauseam about this recently; just refer to my recent columns for more about this.

So what does one do with the racetrack now that you concede the gamblers to the ADWs?  Time to hold festival-type racing; where you appeal to the fans instead of gamblers.  Will there still be wagering?  Of course there will but it will be done at a much lower level so you would downsize your tote operations accordingly.  In fact, with the exception of some tellers, you would farm the wagers to an ADW to operate as the hub.

As to the on-track action, racing would be a piece of the entertainment puzzle.  Since most of the wagering is done off-track at ADWs, why are we sticking to our 15 minute (plus crawl time) between races formula  With everyone now acting as their individual OTB facility, the amount of time between the races can be reduced to no more than 5 to 7 minutes between races (perhaps longer on major stakes days).   Once a race is official, head back to the paddock and send the next field out for their score and then directly to the gate and repeat.  There is no reason while a 12 race card can't be completed in two hours.  Conduct other events before and after the racing program to complete the entertainment package for the day if you are not part of a racino; alternative gaming options would complete the day otherwise.


Anonymous said...

The fact that the takeouts are less for ADWs than they are at the racetrack is an absolute abomination. They should be double for the convenience of being able to wager away from the racetrack and the payouts should be taxed an additional 5% a la OTB back in the day. Only horse racing can make it more beneficial for people NOT TO attend their sport. And you wonder why (among other reasons) the tracks are empty these days? This deal is absolutely ridiculous as well as unfair to the true horse racing fans and patrons.

Pacingguy said...

This comment is from Larry Haines:

Keep in mind that it is imperative to allow enough time to warm-up the horses between races. A published post time should be the post time with only an exception made in case of an emergency. Since harness horses spend about two hours in the paddock, no horseman is likely to complain about moving the show right along. When I did runners, the horse left for the paddock when the previous races was being unsaddled in front of the grandstand. Since there is no such thing as warming up with TB's, it should be no problem with them.

Anonymous said...

Standardreds do need time to warm up between races. However, warmups con be conducted at the same time the next race horses are scoring down. 15 minutes from the official of one race to the start of the next is all that is needed. Race 1 official, race 2 post parade 5 minutes later, later race warm ups start right after post parade, all later race warm ups exit track at 2 minutes to post, then... START THE RACE ON TIME! D\The drivers may not like their relaxing bater time between races eliminated though...

Anonymous said...

Anonymous "#1" - your comments indicate that you really have no idea about just how much of current handle is derived from "big" players, who ONLY remain in the game because of the rebates offered through their ADW (many even OWN their own ADW's, just so that they can remain profitable in the game). Your "solution" would be to basically "cut them off" - that "solution" will just hasten the demise of racing, as the game cannot survive on the backs of "losing" $2 players. The mistake the tracks made was not setting up their OWN ADW's (with BIG rebates for their best players) when the opportunity existed - instead, they either remained passive on the matter or even worse (as in the case of Jeff Gural and a few others), actually tried to FIGHT the ADW's, claiming it was "killing their business". But it didn't take long for Gural to make a DEAL with certain players (who have their own ADW, basically allowing them to play "takeout free", just to artificially inflate his handle numbers (and provide some liquidity for the rest of the "suckers"). There's no turning back now - all tracks can do is set up their own ADW's (as several have), offer competitive rebates, and hope to at least keep their own players on the "home team".

Anonymous said...

If the current inflated handles aren't benefitting the racetracks at all then what good are they??? The sport is dead if it needs to depend upon people that really aren't interested in the sport but are only concerned about making themselves money. If what Anonymous #4 says is true then harness racing would be better off dying with the crew that supported them so that at least it could go out with some dignity. The end is apparently inevitable anyway.