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View Full Version : BOLDNESS will turn the industry around


highnote
10-17-2009, 01:19 AM
All I hear from racing executives and others is "we can't do it because we don't have the money", or "we can't afford to lower handle because some outlets won't take our signal", or "4% betting exchange takeout is too low", or "we lack time", "we lack technology", "the industry is too resistent to change", "there is too much regulation", etc. etc. etc.

That's BULLSHIT.

All these things have one thing in common -- the problems are blamed on a lack of resources. None of these are the defining factor of why a racetrack is failing, or why handle is down.

It may be true that as an industry executive you may be lacking some of those resources, but the defining factor for your failure to achieve the growth of your business is not due to the lack of resources.

The defining factor is resourcefulness. And by that I mean emotion. Emotion is what drives you. You may not have a lot of money, or the latest technology or be located near a large metropolitan area, but if you have enough resourcefulness and are determined enough you will find a way to succeed.

HANA is a prime example. A small group of horseplayers with no money decided they had had enough of watching an industry spiraling out of control and being run into the ground and they would do everything in their power to help turn the industry around. For HANA, failure is not an option. One year later, HANA is working hard to help drive an industry turnaround.

At startup, the only thing HANA had was resourcefulness. HANA was driven purely by emotion -- an overwhelming desire to force change. HANA did not have the resource of money, but HANA did not let that stop them.

I don't hear many industry executives taking the blame for their track's failures or the industry's failures. Yet, all you have to do is listen to the comments from some of racing's leaders and it's plain to see that they are the ones to blame. They are not inspiring anyone within their organizations. All I hear is what can't be done and why it is so hard. Folks, this is not going to get the job done.

I have heard some track executives say they would like to lower takeout, but certain major outlets wouldn't take their signal. Well then maybe it's time you stopped sucking the hind tit. The big tracks and the racinos are not the only racing jurisdictions in the country.

Maybe the smaller tracks that don't have racinos need to band together and lower takeouts in unison or jointly start an ADW and share signals with each other and anyone else who will take your signals. Maybe it's time the smaller tracks force the big tracks to suck the hind tit for awhile.

Maybe a smaller track can go against the grain and only offer Win, Place and Show betting, but at 5% takeout. Forget about exotics. They're too hard for beginners to win at anyway.

What if your track handled a billion dollars per year? Every 1% of handle that you keep is 10 million dollars. Has any small market track executive been bold enough to set a goal of $1 billion dollars in handle? Why not? What would it take to drive a billion dollars of handle to your track? It's not impossible. Why isn't that question being asked? Fear of failure?

Maybe it's time for racing executives to get angry and use that emotion to drive them forward. Use that emotional energy to get the creative juices flowing. Use that emotional energy to motivate and inspire the people you are leading. Use emotion to drive you to make bold decisions.

What do you think made Rosa Parks make the decision not to sit in the back of the bus? Emotion drove that decision and that decision shaped the destiny of our country.

Think about the man who faced down a tank in Tiananmen Square. He used his emotions to drive his actions and changed the course of a country.

Which North American track will be bold enough to start it's own betting exchange? Whichever track is first will change the course of the industry and force all others to be followers.

I don't remember who said it, but it is worth asking, "If not now, when? If not you, who?".

It's time for YOU to get off your ass, stoke the fire in your belly and make things happen. NOW!

And that includes horseplayers. Get angry! :mad: Get involved!

rwwupl
10-17-2009, 12:08 PM
swetyejohn:

I agree and I have nothing to add but thanks for that. :cool: :ThmbUp:

Imriledup
10-17-2009, 11:10 PM
I'd be willing to help the industry by being able to open up an account with Beftair. I just don't want to have to move to siberia to do it.

trying2win
10-18-2009, 10:04 PM
SWETYEJOHN,

Great post! :ThmbUp: A new can-do attitude is needed by many racetrack executives. For example, only a few of these brass get kudos from me for trying to lead the way, by attempting to do some positive things in the lowering takeout department...that is at KEENELAND and TAMPA BAY. Practically every other racetrack executive suffers from 'EXCUSITIS' as explained by author David J. Schwartz Ph.D, in the quote below this post.

Thanks,

T2W
------------------------------------------------------------------------
~--"People with mediocre accomplishments are quick to explain whey they haven't, why they don't, why they can't, and why they aren't".

~--"Study the lives of successful people, and you'll discover this:
all the excuses made by the mediocre fellow could be but aren't made by the successful person."

--David J. Schwartz Ph.D.
author of the great book 'THE MAGIC OF THINKING BIG'

jonnielu
10-18-2009, 11:07 PM
The industry doesn't want to be bold, they want slots. So far, they have gotten what they want, and it looks like that will continue.

jdl

highnote
10-19-2009, 12:45 AM
they want slots. So far, they have gotten what they want, and it looks like that will continue.

jdl


CD wants slots, but they have not gotten what they want.

Does Keeneland want slots? It seems like they will be fine without them.

The large tracks in general and the slot tracks in particular have less to be concerned about and less reason to take bold action.

From what I can see, it is the smaller tracks without slots that risk going under. These are the tracks that must be resourceful if they are going to survive.

Then again, Waterford Park (Mountaineer) survived on $1500 purses for many years. Would they have survived the internet age without slots? Probably, if they were resourceful enough.

The fewer tracks there are the better it is for the surviving tracks, but there will be a lot of people who will suffer at the tracks that don't survive -- the grooms, the hotwalkers, the ferriers, the trainers, the vets, the racing office personnel, the local farms, tack shops, etc. etc. etc.

A closed track can not contribute to growing the economy. That is a sign of a shrinking economy. Fewer tracks would be a bad thing, in my opinion.

When I first thought of the idea of a betting exchange in 1998 the first thing I thought about was how hard the full service brokers complained about the new discount brokers. The full service brokers thought that the discount brokers would cause them to go bankrupt. A consultant from IBM told the full service brokers that they may not like the discount brokers business model, but that they had better find a way to compete or else they would be bankrupt. They found a way. They lowered their fees or added other services or sold CDOs -- but that's another story.

I knew that the betting exchange would be a game changer -- a paradigm shift. The first ones to embrace the exchange would prosper. The ones who feared it would suffer.

Could you imagine if NYRA would have embraced the betting exchange concept in 1998 rather than fighting it? Where might they be now? Would they even have needed slots to survive? Would they have had to give up their land to the state?

There might be other ways for a small track to survive nowadays. In my opinion, the key is innovation, innovation, innovation. If my track was on the verge of bankruptcy, I would throw caution to the wind. What would there be to lose?

Is a slow painful death preferable to the pain of radically changing the way you approach the business and working towards a turnaround?

jonnielu
10-19-2009, 07:03 AM
CD wants slots, but they have not gotten what they want.

It's just a matter of a few more senate votes, they will get them.

Does Keeneland want slots? It seems like they will be fine without them.

That doesn't answer the question, but I suppose there must be a reason for all the campaining for slots. Let's put it this way, Keeneland has spent more money campaigning for slots then they have in an attempt to boldly recruit customers for horse racing. Maybe there is an answer in there, somewhere in the back.

The large tracks in general and the slot tracks in particular have less to be concerned about and less reason to take bold action.



None of them have any reason, or any ability to take further bold action, the action of partnering with government was the first and last big marketing move. Government runs horseracing, that entity is not known for innovation because people are supposed to be running it. But, people prefer to leave that work to spineless, cowardly, and power-hungry politicians.

Small race tracks will go the same route as the independent gas station owner, and the mom and pop business. They weren't necessary for purposes of milking people for taxes, and neither are small race tracks.

Government runs horseracing, and all it cares about is revenue for vote-buying. As long as it can get that one way or the other, nobody needs to innovate, or solve problems, or change anything.

jdl

highnote
10-19-2009, 01:09 PM
None of them have any reason, or any ability to take further bold action, the action of partnering with government was the first and last big marketing move. Government runs horseracing, that entity is not known for innovation because people are supposed to be running it. But, people prefer to leave that work to spineless, cowardly, and power-hungry politicians.

Small race tracks will go the same route as the independent gas station owner, and the mom and pop business. They weren't necessary for purposes of milking people for taxes, and neither are small race tracks.

Government runs horseracing, and all it cares about is revenue for vote-buying. As long as it can get that one way or the other, nobody needs to innovate, or solve problems, or change anything.

jdl

You're much more cynical about this than me. I have a lot of hope that some of the industry leaders are working to turn things around and I hope that my posts motivate them and give them some ideas.

You may be right that small tracks will go the way of the mom and pop stores, but it doesn't have to be that way. Mom and pop stores still exist. Some thrive. There is no reason small tracks can't flourish if the desire is there. Tampa Bay seems to have found a way to survive.

Success leaves clues. If I owned a small track I'd be studying what other successful small tracks are doing and then do the same things.

As far as partnering with gov, racetracks don't have much choice. Racetracks are highly regulated and only exist with the blessing of government.

Government regulates horseracing, but I don't think it runs horseracing. There may be some exceptions, but in general racetrack managers run the day to day operations of a track. So part of the point of my post that started this thread is that pari-mutuel racing is in a tough regulatory environment that places a lot of restrictions on it, but the industry can not use that as an excuse for their lack of growth. They need to innovate and perhaps they need to work harder to pursuade regulators that a change in the laws is needed to allow racetracks to do the necessary things to grow -- even if those changes are only temporary and allow the tracks to get through these tough times.

I'm an optimist. I think we'll look back in 10 years and see a much different environment. It will be interesting to see who the real innovators and movers and shakers of today were.

highnote
10-19-2009, 01:47 PM
This is my last post on this topic and it may be a cliché, but it is true.

Racetracks must innovate or die.

andymays
10-19-2009, 02:28 PM
If you want the industry to do something then you have to get in front of them and convince them that your solution is good for them and not just good for you (not you personally)!

jonnielu
10-19-2009, 10:30 PM
You're much more cynical about this than me. I have a lot of hope that some of the industry leaders are working to turn things around and I hope that my posts motivate them and give them some ideas.

You may be right that small tracks will go the way of the mom and pop stores, but it doesn't have to be that way. Mom and pop stores still exist. Some thrive. There is no reason small tracks can't flourish if the desire is there. Tampa Bay seems to have found a way to survive.

Success leaves clues. If I owned a small track I'd be studying what other successful small tracks are doing and then do the same things.

As far as partnering with gov, racetracks don't have much choice. Racetracks are highly regulated and only exist with the blessing of government.

Government regulates horseracing, but I don't think it runs horseracing. There may be some exceptions, but in general racetrack managers run the day to day operations of a track. So part of the point of my post that started this thread is that pari-mutuel racing is in a tough regulatory environment that places a lot of restrictions on it, but the industry can not use that as an excuse for their lack of growth. They need to innovate and perhaps they need to work harder to pursuade regulators that a change in the laws is needed to allow racetracks to do the necessary things to grow -- even if those changes are only temporary and allow the tracks to get through these tough times.

I'm an optimist. I think we'll look back in 10 years and see a much different environment. It will be interesting to see who the real innovators and movers and shakers of today were.

I'm an optimist too, and I wasn't cynical about this issue as recently as last year. But, I've spent the past year looking at this deal real hard and I see a standoff with all parties being just as stubborn and unmoving. The most significant party involved, (the potential customer) has no reason whatsoever to move at all. And, the industry is just as unwilling to provide a reason.

Why? To protect a cash cow that gets drier everyday.

The potential customer could not care less whether racing comes or goes, they rejected it as a game for them to play 20 years ago. It will still take a few more years for racing to figure that out, they've never had to market themselves and don't appear to have any ideas on how to do it, that also seems to be a job that nobody in racing has.

jdl