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Old 11-04-2008, 03:09 PM   #11
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It's Obvious

I think everyone whoís posted to this thread has a very valid opinion. Itís clear by the responses that racing has many problems and all need to be addressed.

However, in my opinion, racingís biggest, most immediate, and most serious problem is the ADW issue. I think itís fairly obvious. Even if one could waive a magic wand and cure all of the other problems mentioned in this thread it wouldnít amount to a hill of beans if the general public canít get down a bet. Itís the gambling dollar that fuels the industry and without it the industry is dead in the water.

From my personal experience I can tell you that my own handle is down significantly over the past two years. Iím a big fan of the pick-4 and the pick-6 and I used to greatly enjoy playing the guaranteed pools in California. Letís look at some facts.

Iíll begin by pointing out that Iím a New York resident, not exactly a cultural or technological backwater. Since opening my very first ADW account with TVG years ago Iíve had to deal with:

-My TVG account being closed against my will due to some agreement between TVG and New York authorities banning TVG from offering services to New York residents.

-Having to open separate accounts with YouBet and xPressBet (due to exclusivity) in order to be able to have coverage for most major racing circuits.

-Having to throw my handicapping skills out the window when dirt tracks were replaced with synthetics in California and Kentucky.

-Currently being unable to bet California, Kentucky, and Florida due to ADW disputes.

-Currently being unable to access any online live video for any New York tracks.

Is it a shock to anyone that my wagering dollar remains in my pocket? The powers that be have gone to every effort to make it impossible and unenjoyable to bet and near unattainable to win. It defies common sense to be in the business of selling a product and then making it as difficult as possible for the customer to spend his dollar on your product. As handles decline and purses are cut the industry fiddles while Rome burns.

The solution is simple. Find a way to allow all ADWs to have access to all tracks and the ability to show all video signals in all states. That would, in a sense, fully open all spigots thereby allowing every horseplayer access to every track. That would fully maximize handle by removing all handcuffs from every player. Then it will be up to the customer as to whether he prefers to go to the track, go to an OTB, or to play online. If he can watch the video of every track online it can then be a personal decision as to which ADW site he prefers. A free market system will be established and it will force the ADW sites to innovate in terms of features and service. Personally I think YouBet is by far the most superior site on the Internet. Their interface is slick and aesthetically appealing, their Wager Pad makes entering bets very easy, and, as far as I can tell, they are the only online site that actually shows ďwill paysĒ for pick-4s and pick-6s, which I find astonishing. They are the only site that seems to implement upgrades and enhanced features from time-to-time and itís sad to see their business suffer as it has.

Once that issue is resolved and handle stabilizes and possibly increases, then and only then can the other important issues such as drugs and integrity be addressed. If it were up to me Iíd the tab synthetic surfaces as the second most relevant issue and focus on stopping the spread of synthetics and working toward getting the current synthetic tracks replaced with safe traditional dirt. US racing was founded on dirt races and the current population was bred for dirt. The move to unilaterally do away with and replace something as fundamental as the surface on which the game is played was reckless and poorly thought out. It threw under the bus both handicapper and horseman alike. Itís no shock to see Keeneland handle suffer when handicapping that surface is like throwing darts. California racing has now become two things; turf racing and synthetic racing that favors turf horses. The American dirt horse is left out in the cold, as clearly evidenced by results of this yearís Breeders Cup. Iím still waiting for any proponent of synthetic racing to explain how thatís a positive thing.

Solve those two problems and the racing industry, although still diseased, will at least find itself restored to firm footing from where further reforms and progress can be made and hopefully, with some sound decision making, find itself in a healthy growth mode.
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