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Old 07-14-2009, 02:09 PM   #1
machine
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Open Letter to HANA

400 pages. That's the size of a report that was created for the BC members, and I tend to agree 120% with Bill Christine and his Consultants by the Carload, the last thing the industry needs is more consultants. I should know I guess I've been a quasi one for about a year now. I've been lucky enough to go to the NTRA annual meeting, the TPA's meeting, and am part of a group of fans talking about the BC.

And this is what I've learned: It's not the marketing that holds the industry back. It's the industry itself. They hire consultants to come in look over their books but at the end of the day a few deck chairs are moved around but we're still on the Titanic.

I'll tell you the one story that is a great example of all this. Remember, the horse industry wants nothing to do with being for or against legalizing gambling (poker) on the internet. The reason for this is because the Inter-State Horse Racing Act is so poorly worded that at any time Congress could pretty much say, "This doesn't mean what you think it means" and poof there goes the industry.

What holds back this industry is the inability and the reluctance to admit that past contracts and dealings do not make sense in 1989 let alone 2009. Everyone is so scared to try and word a new contract because it might cause the whole house of cards to come tumbling down. The industry doesn't need a new era of marketing it needs a new era of trust and cooperation at the most basic level. The Contract.

-------------

Dear HANA,

You have done a phenomenal job of organizing and you have people within your board ready to make change. I hope this open letter serves as a push, it is by NO means a critique.

The time has come to be more specific. Change is always be coming to this sport, but all we get are 400 page documents full of platitudes and affirmations. If you want change, if you want recognition, you must be specific. A lot more specific than below:

"We want open access to all track signals for all ADWs, takeouts that are competitive with other forms of gambling, the abolishment of breakage, severe penalties for trainers who cheat, and odds updates in real time. But most of all we want those who run racing to recognize us. The player matters. The player is a stakeholder too. Without money bet by us players the game would cease to exist."

Taking the idea that the current contracts in place between tracks on all levels are poorly acclimated to today's world and combining that with your focus on take out, breakage, and signal I ask you come up with a new contract. Most signal agreements between tracks are cumbersome, unwieldy, inefficient, take your pick. What the industry needs is a new starting point.

So what would a signal agreement look like? What should tracks strive to get to? I want to see real numbers, real contractual language, no more change, I want a finished product.

Sincerely,
A Consultant who realizes how dirty a word that can be.

ps for the record I'm an Itunes breakdown kind of guy
You know out $.99 cents the recording industry gets like $.65, the artist probably about $.10. So following that logic on a bet, 35% should go to the ADW or whoever accepts the bet, 55% to the host track, 10% to the horsemen.
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Old 07-14-2009, 02:21 PM   #2
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Please keep in mind we are not a Board of attorneys (thank God, we would never have gotten as far as we have if we were) so asking for a HANA to produce a legitimate binding 30-40 page legal document that would pass muster among the highly paid legal committees which are employeed by ADWs, Horsemens groups and Tracks is asking a bit much and frankly is not the best use of our time and meager resources to come up with. On the other hand if you are asking for the economic allocation breakdown which would be incorporated in such a document, that is more achievable. However, I do not quite understand what the purpose of this request is? Why does it need to be a finished, polished legal document? Also keep in mind open access is a policy, not a contract.

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Old 07-14-2009, 02:38 PM   #3
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Thanks Machine.

For Open signal access I think that it is a phrase that makes people's eyes glaze over. But it should not. Why? Because it is happening right now in some instances. It is not some far out concept.

Mountaineer's Rose Mary Williams:

Quote:
Mountaineer has never signed an exclusive contract with an ADW. When TVG asked us to sign an exclusive contract during our earlier years of export we decided it was in our best interest to offer the signal to all the ADW services. Unfortunately our races were partially shown by TVG but we believe that we made the right decision. We still offer our signal to all ADW's as we believe open access benefits all the MTR tracks.
MTR's signal is affordable, available, and available to anyone (in states that permit it) who wants to get lower takeout. If everything was like MTR's mgmt in terms of signal distribution and price, I think handles would be up and on the move, not down with no bottom in site. We dont have to write a new contract for open access, we could just copy and paste Mountaineers.

As for more consultants and commissions I couldnt agree more. The business hired Wil Cummings and his crew six years ago and everything he recommended was shelved - not only that, in some cases the exact opposite of what he recommended was done (see THG et al). In fact, about 90% of his predictions of what would happen if racing does not get moving came true, and finally a few of the recommendations are being looked at. We have all the commissions an commission reports we need regarding handle, we dont need another, we need to act on the old ones which have proven to be true. Easier said than done, of course.

PS: MNR in exporting the signal, giving more distribution and allowing folks like PTC to give a little back to players has worked fairly well for a track who concentrated on only live racing in 1999.

Quote:
What we are really moving towards is a changing model with simulcasting and new distribution channels. There is a trend not just for gamblers, but also for racetracks to be moving to higher volume and lower margins. A good example of this, and a track that has embraced it successfully is Mountaineer Park. They didnít export their signal until the year 2000. Handle went from $19 million in 1999 to $200 million in 2001 to over $300 million in 2003.

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Old 07-14-2009, 02:53 PM   #4
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I am glad you all aren't lawyers and consultants, but some of you are, and i think it's important for any grass roots movement to have a specific platform. This contract idea is just one plank, but I think it might be the most important.

I disagree it would be a waste of your time. Every thing you guys do here is about those contracts held between tracks. Rebates, for example, are more possible for some tracks than others because of the contracts they've signed. If a track is only making 5% on a WPS and it's customers want 3% rebates why should that track even offer the bet? Just one example of how contracts hold the things you want back.

The purpose of having a ready made contract (or at least as close to the real thing as possible) is so you can put it in someone's face. You can say, here's what you should be doing. It's easy to say track A's takeout is too high, but what's the right level? It's easy to say there should be rebates, but like the above example, where should they come from. It's easy to say TVG is bad, but don't they deserve something for televising races in states they can't accept wagers from?

It's easy to throw stones if you don't have a house, true, but no one will take those stones seriously if you don't.
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Old 07-14-2009, 03:03 PM   #5
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That's a fair point.
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Old 07-14-2009, 03:22 PM   #6
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Soooo...... this is the part where you guys rally your troops and put pencil to paper. Start forming a coalition on these boards, have someone write up a draft, contact people off the record for some input, or a starting point, start polling people on what they want to see, start fact checking w/ people outside the group to make sure you don't pull a PETA (and say killing flies is the worst human offense possible) and look crazy. If you put out a contract that is competent, fair, well meaning, and SPECIFIC.... HANA holds the world in its hand.

HANA implores all tracks to move towards a contract that is fair and in accordance with today's business world. This base contract is fair, detailed, and will enable track management to get back to focusing on what's truly important, handle makers. No contract is plug and chug, but we hope this base contract acts as a guide to creating a new era in racing.
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Old 07-14-2009, 03:38 PM   #7
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We have been detailing differing opines from within and outside the business on ADW and contracts, like this opine for example, which was at the very least interesting:

http://blog.horseplayersassociation....n-matters.html

Tracknet and Mountaineer are the polar opposites right now and the gap to bridge that is cumbersome, however your point is a good one and worth discussing. It might have to move up the 'things to do' list and we'll definitely have a look at doing that and see if we can make some headway. We have a couple irons right now in the fire on contracts and making them better for the player, but since they are only preliminary we dont have much news on them. I think within a month or two we will have something worked out, and anyone that is passionate about it and wants to add their two cents, shoot us an email, and we can discuss having him/her as part of the working group.
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Old 07-14-2009, 04:40 PM   #8
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I read that opine and remember thinking to myself they were arguing over words not numbers, that they both agreed it the system was broken but differed over how to correct it. So, I would say proof again that if HANA wants to improve it's place and get more attention and appreciation a platform with specifics would be a great first step.

Irons in the fire is great, not being able to report on them not so great, how can you gauge your success if you don't have a bar to gauge it against. If someone's take out is 25% and they lower it to 23% is that success.... if you put a platform together asking for 15% you realize people are just giving you lip service, saying that you had an affect when in actuality they are appeasing you so you go away happy.

I'll leave it at this. I signed up for HANA today, because it took nothing on my part but an email address. These, you say, add weight and significance when talking to people. I say it just makes you feel better. HANA stands for nothing, because there's nothing in that sign up sheet for me to sign on to and say I believe in. Something like a platform you do ASAP when people start recognizing that you have some "pull", and you start putting it in front of people that this is what you expect and anything less won't be a situation where you go away happy. If weeks turn to months turn to years and you don't have something concrete to show people and to gauge success and failure against you have a community of either pushovers happy to accept any small change as proof they "did" something or maybe even worse whiners who don't like the current situation but offer no specifics as to what they want and what would be economically feasible.
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Old 07-14-2009, 04:51 PM   #9
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We want to show progress on several fronts that is very tangible. We have in some instances, and we detailed them in the newsletter (the ADW "strike", the CHRB takeout hikes etc).

The business took 100 years to be messed up. Five or six active members in HANA have had nine months to address them. Change and progress will not happen, or be able to be documented, overnight.

Currently we are trying to effect change in four instances:

1. Uniform reporting of payouts and probables on teletheater and simo screens North America wide

2. The TVG 25 cent betting fee

3. ADW contracts with one track

4. A proposal for securing the wagering pools to be placed in front of an already determined committee who makes these decisions.

I hope over the coming months we can show progress on those four issues, but with only a few volunteers, all of whom who work at daily jobs and have themselves and/or families to support, we can not say for sure when or if they will be achieved. All I can say is we are trying to make progress on those fronts. With limited resources that is a very cumbersome list. I wish there were 48 hours in a day, not 24.
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Old 07-14-2009, 05:15 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DeanT
Currently we are trying to effect change in four instances:

1. Uniform reporting of payouts and probables on teletheater and simo screens North America wide

A common sense issue which HANA should have no problem with because there should be zero opposition

2. The TVG 25 cent betting fee

A horrible joke on the horseplayer but at least they are up front and tell you about the joke they are playing on bettors. The exclusivity and heavy promotion of WDB, FE and MOH is 100 times worse because nowhere do they announce that these Canadian tracks are robbing you with larcenous takeouts on the bets they are promoting.

3. ADW contracts with one track

4. A proposal for securing the wagering pools to be placed in front of an already determined committee who makes these decisions.

Be very careful with this one. A complete update of the outdated tote system should be the only thing HANA is promoting. If HANA, through some miracle, gets some tracks/all tracks to go for it's shut off betting early plan.....it will be a handle disaster and HANA will effectively be a done issue.
ITP

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Old 07-14-2009, 05:32 PM   #11
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Quote:
1. Uniform reporting of payouts and probables on teletheater and simo screens North America wide

A common sense issue which HANA should have no problem with because there should be zero opposition

3. ADW contracts with one track

4. A proposal for securing the wagering pools to be placed in front of an already determined committee who makes these decisions.

Be very careful with this one. A complete update of the outdated tote system should be the only thing HANA is promoting. If HANA, through some miracle, gets some tracks/all tracks to go for it's shut off betting early plan.....it will be a handle disaster and HANA will effectively be a done issue.
1. Common sense yes, but to show just how intransigent the business is, we have had trouble making progress on this so far. We thought this one would be easy. It's not.

4. A more than fair point. It is something we have struggled with on this and discussed.We are hoping to spur discussion, and by doing so educate the business that this needs to be taken care of and fans are not happy with the situation.You are very correct that this, like other issues for a fledgling organization, must work or we will have trouble digging out of the hole. Finding issues that can be achieved right now is very hard. The business is very entrenched and married to the status quo.
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Old 07-14-2009, 05:44 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DeanT
Finding issues that can be achieved right now is very hard. The business is very entrenched and married to the status quo.
I commend HANA on fighting battles, but you're not fighting the war. There is no plan of attack, there is no flag to follow.

I'd say if you had a platform or something to rally around you'd find your members ready to pitch in and help out cause they could see where they fit in or could help.
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Old 07-14-2009, 05:46 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DeanT
The business is very entrenched and married to the status quo.
Trust me....that is a gross understatement. You are being way too kind.

I use to be kind to them to....about 10-15 years ago



Also Dean....Pope is at it again.....trying to get the KTA to implement his plan http://www.paulickreport.com/blog/cr...#comment-14764 post #'s 17 and 23

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Old 07-14-2009, 05:57 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by machine
I'd say if you had a platform or something to rally around you'd find your members ready to pitch in and help out cause they could see where they fit in or could help.
I do not disagree one iota. Finding doable change and something that catches the imagination of players everywhere is a goal. Our blog has 350 posts in the last ten months about all kinds of issues. We monitor what seems to catch readers imagination and so on. We have our second meeting with a pollster scheduled next week as well. That list above we are working on was not pulled out of a hat, it came from horseplayers, via email, on the blog, on Pace and other chat boards, etc.

The AARP was founded in 1948 and it took them ten years to put out a magazine. It was 35 years to get going on insurance, which did not go over well, then about another ten years to find several issues like taxation where they became a lobbying force. I sure as hell hope that it does not take HANA that long to get going and force change, but one thing we do want is to be around in 50 years and have a pile of members. It has been the goal since day one - horseplayer groups, or factions, or whatever have come over the years and are gone as quickly as they have started. We are trying to not be another one of them.
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Old 07-14-2009, 05:59 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by InsideThePylons-MW
Also Dean....Pope is at it again.....trying to get the KTA to implement his plan http://www.paulickreport.com/blog/cr...#comment-14764 post #'s 17 and 23
Oh my head. Like I said, there is not enough hours in the day.
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