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Old 09-28-2010, 01:38 AM   #1
Jeff P
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Has the time come?

If you walk into a store to buy a loaf of bread, and notice that the bread is stale and overpriced, you put it down and you walk out of the store.

Thousands of racing customers have been doing just that for the better part of a decade now. If you take all sources handle as it existed in 2003 and adjust it for inflation, and you compare it to all sources handle today in 2010, you will discover that all sources handle today in 2010 is approximately one half of what it was just seven years ago in 2003.

Consider the real life case where instead of walking out of the store, a group of conscientious racing customers took the time to contact the owners of the store and explain to them in a reasonable and intelligent manner why thousands of racing customers have been buying their bread somewhere else.

Instead of listening to the customer group’s suggestions, the owners of the store decided to implement a takeout increase at one of their stores: Los Alamitos.

Oddly enough, this same group of racing customers presented data to the CHRB clearly showing that year over year on track handle at Los Alamitos was down more than 27 percent during the six month period immediately following that takeout increase.

Instead of rescinding the takeout increase (as had been promised at the time it was implemented if it caused handle to drop) the CHRB voted unanimously to keep it in force – effectively telling racing customers everywhere what they could do with their ideas about fresh bread at competitive prices.

Shortly afterwards, the owners of the store lobbied the California Legislature to amend an innocuous bill originally written to promote the Breeder’s Cup. They were able to convince John A. Perez (D) to tack on provisions mandating a takeout increase of up to 15% over previous levels for exotic wagers at California's thoroughbred tracks. Takeout on exactas and daily doubles was raised to 22.68%. Takeout on all other exotic wagers was raised to 23.68%.

The above events actually took place during 2010.

Who are the owners of the store?

Hollywood Park, Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, Santa Anita, Golden Gate Fields, Los Alamitos, the Thoroughbred Owners of California (TOC), and the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB).

Who is the customer group?

HANA.

The state law?

At the September, 2010 CHRB meeting, when it was announced that Senate Bill 1072 had been signed into law by the Governor: The owners of the store stood up and cheered.

At some point, as a consumer, you have to consider the possibility that the owners of the store no longer deserve your business.

That’s exactly where horseplayers are at right now given the recent actions of the store owners in California.

You do not raise prices in the face of economic downturn. You lower them.

The store owners in other states are watching. It’s time for players everywhere to send a clear message back to the store owners. It’s time for players to start speaking with their wallets.

To me, the fact that other states still have takeout even higher than California’s new 23.68 percent takeout on trifectas is irrelevant. California is where the store owners decided to raise takeout over the objections of the players. California is where the CHRB ignored the facts related to the Los Al takeout increase. California is where the track owners, the TOC, and the head of the CHRB lobbied the Legislature for a takeout increase. California is where the Legislature ignored the voice of the player and passed that takeout increase. California is where the Governor ignored the voice of the player and signed Senate Bill 1072 into law. California is where the owners of the store made comments like the following after they enacted the takeout increase:

CHRB Commissioner David Israel:
Quote:
“People often say we are competing with the casinos. I think that’s shortsighted and wrong. We’re not competing with casinos. We’re in the entertainment business. We’re competing with the Dodgers and the Giants and the Angels and the Lakers and we’re putting on a show..."
CHRB Commissioner Keith Brackpool:
Quote:
"We offer in California the premier racing product on a year-round basis,” he said, “but we were offering our first-class product at a discount price. We’re changing the pricing model. We left win-place-show where it is. But we came up with a solution that will produce $30 million more a year. That’s a 25-to-30% increase in overnight purses."
I hate to use the word boycott, but in my opinion the owners of the store in California clearly no longer deserve even one penny of my business.

I have to put the question out there to other players:

Has the time come for an organized national players’ boycott of California racing?

Jeff Platt
President, HANA
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Old 09-28-2010, 02:25 AM   #2
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Perfectly said, Jeff. You're right on target. Unless the takeout goes back down, they won't get anything from me. That's for sure. We must pull together and show them that what they did was really dumb.

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Old 09-28-2010, 02:33 AM   #3
thaskalos
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When Los Alamitos raised their takeout, it was a case of an obscure quarter horse track with small betting pools...trying to survive in turbulent times. This takeout hike is another matter altogether.

These racetracks have the biggest wagering pools in the country, and are not raising taxes for self-preservation...but because they think that their "superior" product is not priced high enough. They think that they can compete with the LA Lakers for sheer entertaiment value...and they want to price their product accordingly.

One thing is certain. Other prominent racetracks are watching this move...and if the public backlash is not strong enough in the wagering pools - where it counts - you can expect to see this tactic carried out in racetracks across the land.

Whether California is still competitive with other tracks in takeout, even after this takeout hike, is a moot point IMO.

It is the PRINCIPLE that we should be revolting against...

Last edited by thaskalos; 09-28-2010 at 02:46 AM.
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Old 09-28-2010, 02:46 AM   #4
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Old 09-28-2010, 03:03 AM   #5
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Great post Jeff. I couldn't agree more.
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Old 09-28-2010, 03:07 AM   #6
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Fantastic stuff Jeff.

While i'd be in favor of a boycott, i think that boycotting might send the wrong message. The message that a boycott sends is this. A boycott says, "we love you and you deeply hurt our feelings, so we want to stay away until you say you're sorry and try and make things whole again. We will forgive you if you come to your senses"

I think something stronger than a boycott is to just ignore California racing. A boycott seems to indicate that you would go back if the takeouts were switched back to old levels. A boycott is sort of like a lover who cheats on you but then if they say they're sorry, you'll take them back. The bettors of the So Cal product have to be the lover that says, "even though i completely believe you would never cheat on me again, i still can't take you back because i won't compromise my morals"


I think the key is to just 'break up' with California racing and don't ever look back. A boycott shows that you got your feelings hurt and then you're going to 'show them'. I think instead of a boycott, just ignore them and find a new lover.

Its bad enough they're raising the levels of takeout to obscene heights, but they had two higher ups (Brackpool and Israel) come out and make comments that are nothing short of a smack in the face to all horseplayers around the country. Some of the things that Brackpool and Israel have said are so insulting to the bettors around the country, that i can't imagine anyone would even consider betting one dollar on California racing after this. The arrogance shown by Keith Brackpool and David Israel has to rank them up with some of the most arrogant people in the USA.

Those two are completely convinced that YOU, the California horse player, is a complete moron and they have actually told you so to your face. Their comments indicate that they think all the California bettors are complete idiots and will play no matter what, and i think that's why they're cheering and celebrating over this 'free money' that they just found. California horseplayers are clowns who are going to bet anyway is what they're thinking.

You know when people say that something is 'better than sex'? Well, i think if the California handle gets destroyed and Brackpool and Israel have to come back and say, "We were wrong" that would be one of those times. To see these two chopped down a peg is worth EVERYTHING. Horseplayers can make it happen by NOT betting a single dollar on this California product.

Thoroughbred horse trainers are a dime a dozen and yet Israel thinks they are 'rock stars' who should command a salary like one. I love Bob Baffert (i'm going to just use him as an example to illustrate my point), but if he decided to retire tomorrow, it wouldnt make the betting handle go down ONE RED CENT. We would say goodbye to Bob and wish him well in his new life, but if he left, the handle would stay exactly the same. On the other hand, If one big bettor decided he had enough with So Cal racing, his handle would be missed, it would affect the bottom line.That particular big player 'retiring' would be more crushing to handle than Bob Baffert retiring, yet Israel wants to give Baffert a 'raise' at the expense of the more important participant in the equasion.

I recently had an 'out of the mouths of babes' moment. A person who had never seen a horse race before was in the same room with me when i flipped on a channel showing horse racing. This young person i was with said, "i don't get this horse racing, its boring, its just anonymous horses running in a circle, why is this exciting to you?" My gut instinct was to say "wait a minute, horse racing is a great and very exciting sport" but before i answered, i thought about it and instead said, "you're totally right, its just random horses running around in a circle, if you've seen one race, you've seen them all, there's nothing exciting about it as a sport for people who are watching on a daily basis. The only exciting thing can happen if you bet on a horse and it wins. THAT is the only fun part of racing"

I know most of you will disagree and tell me about Secretariat or Zenyatta, but the bottom line is that unless you actually own these horses, its really all about how much money can you make betting on the races. This is where race track execs are a little off base, they think that 'the show' they are putting on is so good and exciting, that the customers are willing to pay top dollar to view it.

Horse racing is like ice cream in a way. Its really good on Monday and maybe on Tuesday, but when Wednesday comes up, you don't really feel like eating ice cream for the 3rd day in a row. Ice cream is fantastic, but there's only so much of it you can eat. Same with racing, there's only so far it can go as a 'spectator sport' before the main core of customers need to start profiting on the races in order to keep coming back.
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Old 09-28-2010, 03:57 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff P
... You do not raise prices in the face of economic downturn. You lower them.

The store owners in other states are watching. It’s time for players everywhere to send a clear message back to the store owners. It’s time for players to start speaking with their wallets.

To me, the fact that other states still have takeout even higher than California’s new 23.68 percent takeout on trifectas is irrelevant. California is where the store owners decided to raise takeout over the objections of the players. California is where the CHRB ignored the facts related to the Los Al takeout increase. California is where the track owners, the TOC, and the head of the CHRB lobbied the Legislature for a takeout increase. California is where the Legislature ignored the voice of the player and passed that takeout increase. California is where the Governor ignored the voice of the player and signed Senate Bill 1072 into law. California is where the owners of the store made comments like the following after they enacted the takeout increase:

CHRB Commissioner David Israel:

CHRB Commissioner Keith Brackpool:

I hate to use the word boycott, but in my opinion the owners of the store in California clearly no longer deserve even one penny of my business.

I have to put the question out there to other players:

Has the time come for an organized national players’ boycott of California racing?

Jeff Platt
President, HANA
JP,
The fact that you are asking for player input on this leads me to conclude that HANA has not yet decided as a group to lead a boycott. Can you confirm that?

I hope your first statement bolded above means that if we are going to mobilize, it should not be merely to negate the increase, but to make California the most bettor friendly state offering the lowest takeout in each pool of any state and to put California residents on-track and off on a par with out of state bettors.

I sincerely hope your concern and resolve is matched by all bettors who read this thread.
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Old 09-28-2010, 04:55 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff P
[I]The store owners in other states are watching. It’s time for players everywhere to send a clear message back to the store owners. It’s time for players to start speaking with their wallets.

To me, the fact that other states still have takeout even higher than California’s new 23.68 percent takeout on trifectas is irrelevant . California is where the store owners decided to raise takeout over the objections of the players. California is where the CHRB ignored the facts related to the Los Al takeout increase. California is where the track owners, the TOC, and the head of the CHRB lobbied the Legislature for a takeout increase. California is where the Legislature ignored the voice of the player and passed that takeout increase. California is where the Governor ignored the voice of the player and signed Senate Bill 1072 into law. California is where the owners of the store made comments like the following after they enacted the takeout increase:

CHRB Commissioner David Israel:

CHRB Commissioner Keith Brackpool:


I hate to use the word boycott, but in my opinion the owners of the store in California clearly no longer deserve even one penny of my business.

I have to put the question out there to other players:

Has the time come for an organized national players’ boycott of California racing?

Jeff Platt
President, HANA

Jeff,

I am for a "suspension of play" in some form but I have some questions and some points to make about it because I do not take it lightly and nobody else should take it lightly.

First of all you have got to know you're going to be successfull. If you're not sure ( and you know what I mean by "sure") then it might not be a good idea. You have to be 99% sure that handle will drop. A 10% drop is not enough. I would consider that a push. A 15% drop or more is significant and 30% drop would be the top that I could imagine.

Just because players say they want to stop betting in California doesn't mean they will. Getting a committment for someone who almost never plays California Racing is worthless. You have to know that people who really play California racing on a daily basis are going to stop. I also think that if someone wants to only bet WPS and that's the best they can do then they shouldn't be bashed for doing something. We want the exotic pools to drop significantly. Betting offshore is the other option.

Are you 99% sure we can get a drop of 15% or more?

What is the end game?

Is the goal to get them to rescind the raise in takeout or is the goal to get Santa Anita to not implement the raise in takeout? I think there is a difference.

If Santa Anita committed to offering a low takeout exotic wager in their menu would that be a sign of good will on their part?

Remember this isn't really a Santa Anita driven thing. The TOC and the CHRB are the primary villains.

The comments by Israel and Brackpool are asinine. They could give a flying crap about Horse Players. Maybe part of the deal is that they resign.

I am for some type of action prior to Santa Anita opening. Maybe in the next couple of weeks.

Last edited by andymays; 09-28-2010 at 05:02 AM.
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Old 09-28-2010, 05:00 AM   #9
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EDUCATE the players 1-by-1. Each Player must be EDUCATED, and empowered with the skills and the resources. The players ALL need an ADW with free or minimum fees. They need information to play (low or no-cost racing forms/programs, watch lists, etc.).

Invest time and resources into RESEARCH. = RESEARCH can not be fudged! RESEARCH is the cornerstone for credibility. A collection of facts and trends by itself is not necessarily worthy of being called research. In order to actually convince the big investors that lowering takeout is the best business practice, the RESEARCH must be professional grade. It can never be biased(It may actually help in some cases if it isn't always along "party lines"). The RESEARCH must be legit science. RESEARCH can not be stressed enough and is the difference between a special interest group and a best-practice business model that practically funds itself in consulting and business phases.

So Called Whales need to put handed a crow-bar and they need to use their LEVERAGE. Large bettors are frankly worth more than small bettors. a Strategic approach must be made to "represent" a large portion or section of the poolmoney markets. Like RESEARCH, this is a business conflict, and has to be done in a professional manner. If done right LEVERAGE, like RESEARCH can pursuade the business men who work for the racetracks to adjust best practice. Again the key is actually proving that best-practice involves some of the things that Horseplayers want. If that isn't clearly true there is an attainable best practice with better returns for the racetrack, that involves some changes(which happen to benefit horseplayers), then very little change will be made.
If it turns out that best practice for the racetracks do not happen to involve meeting certain things for the horseplayers, there is always boycott or strikes, but these are much weaker when stand-alone leverage tools withouth the mightyness of RESEARCH and poolmoneymarketLEVERAGE.

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Old 09-28-2010, 05:14 AM   #10
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Just another thing to add to my previous post.

It is my understand that the TOC (thoroughbred owners of California) are funded in part by takeout to the tune of a million or more dollars. Why shouldn't one of our demands be that a Horseplayers of California group be funded as well so we have a level playing field?
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Old 09-28-2010, 06:30 AM   #11
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Suggestion:


If we're gonna do this and be successfull then we have to create some buzz.

In my opinion HANA should put out a press release on Friday morning calling for David Israel and Keith Brackpool to resign after their recent asisne comments. Why Friday? Because someone should also work the weekend radio shows and make the case that they are out of touch they are detrimental to Horse Racing.

In other words we have to start laying the groundwork and making the case to the public who is mostly uninformed about these things.
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Old 09-28-2010, 07:56 AM   #12
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I think Exotic players should boycott CA racing. The win pool players are a different matter. Their takeout is among the lowest in the country. I personally am a win player and I am boycotting everyplace that has win pool take exceeding 17.0%. Whatever pool you bet in you should set a % that you will not accept and avoid those tracks. There are places a lot worse than CA. Philly rips everyone pretty good for allowing you to bet on Mondays and Tuesdays.
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Old 09-28-2010, 08:07 AM   #13
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i don't think its going to matter that much if there is a boycott or not, since there is negetive growth is this industry the will go down anyway. this added takeout in califrornia is just a shot in the arm to keep those high-paying useless jobs going. what the game has always catered to has been either people that love the sport and degenerate gamblers. the lottery's and casino's have taken care of the degenerate gamblers and the racing industry have taken care of the people that love the game and have scared them away.
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Old 09-28-2010, 09:10 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thaskalos
When Los Alamitos raised their takeout, it was a case of an obscure quarter horse track with small betting pools...trying to survive in turbulent times. This takeout hike is another matter altogether.

These racetracks have the biggest wagering pools in the country, and are not raising taxes for self-preservation...but because they think that their "superior" product is not priced high enough. They think that they can compete with the LA Lakers for sheer entertaiment value...and they want to price their product accordingly.

One thing is certain. Other prominent racetracks are watching this move...and if the public backlash is not strong enough in the wagering pools - where it counts - you can expect to see this tactic carried out in racetracks across the land.

Whether California is still competitive with other tracks in takeout, even after this takeout hike, is a moot point IMO.

It is the PRINCIPLE that we should be revolting against...
I disagree that there is a difference in what Los Al did and what the A tracks are about to do.
In both cases, they actually believe that in order to increase horse population and purses they had no choice but increase takeout.

Any takeout anywhere helps kill racing as Horseplayers collectively have less money to churn with and have less value to bet on. Horseplayers slowly but surely become more disillusioned as they last less longer.

When you raise prices the opposite way of where the optimum price is, the bottom line is bound to suffer.

Again, when I am talking optimum price, I mean the takeout price that puts the most money in the hands of the track and purse accounts when the dust settles.
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Old 09-28-2010, 09:35 AM   #15
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The time is now.
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