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Old 05-04-2009, 04:25 PM   #1
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I know every time I try to get friends to go to the track they have no interest (I am 35 years old) they all would prefer to drive an extra hour to the casino's near us. I would think that if the industry could advertise that for a $2 wager the Derby winner paid $103 or on a random day at the track an exacta or tri paid $200+ that would peak more interest in fans that know nothing about the sport. Granted it is tough to pick winners and there is more to it than that, but i think the generation of betters that have missed out on the track would see some of the payoffs for a $2 bet and give it a try. I would rather do that than play $25 minimum hands at one of the Indian casinos. For a $100 at the track I can last 10 races or more, for $100 at the casino i could be packing it in in about 5 minutes after 4 hands. I would think that some information about payoffs would be interesting to those people that know nothing about the sport. any thoughts?
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Old 05-04-2009, 05:00 PM   #2
Mike A
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Yeah...

I'm no advertising expert, but something along those lines would seem like a pretty good angle to play up.

(I also happen to live near Suffolk.)
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Old 05-04-2009, 05:10 PM   #3
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$100 lasts me two races, three races tops. At a casino, I've lasted 7 or 8 hours playing $10 black jack on a $250 bankroll.
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Old 05-04-2009, 07:17 PM   #4
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That is nice, but not the point of the post.
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Old 05-04-2009, 10:56 PM   #5
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the industry shouldn't really have to play it up -- the people that hit are the ones who tell all their friends. Then their friends go to the track and get efficiently cleaned out and decide the casino is maybe more fun in the first place.

One thing that's not talked about much, but I think to compete for the casino dwellers more effectively -- a big part of what racing does not offer very well is the gratification of many small wins. Most casino games, except for roulette (depending on what you;re doing I guess) give the players lots of small wins. They give you a little, then take a little more, then give a little back, etc. This works, lotteries have discovered that paying out small amounts on all the small stuff makes people play more. Gives 'em some hope, and some small wins to enjoy while they get fleeced.

A day at the track in comparison can often feel like you just got straight up mugged. Spending even just a few hours without cashing anything is relatively unfun, if the gratification of cashing is what someone is looking for.

Not that I have any ideas how to change that, but I do think that is part of why many people looking for entertainment and maybe a lucky score choose casino gambling over horseracing. It's not just the payouts, its the frequency of them.
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Old 05-05-2009, 08:01 AM   #6
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People who like to win little and win often can bet favorites to place or show.
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Old 05-05-2009, 08:26 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Judge Gallivan
People who like to win little and win often can bet favorites to place or show.
With slots, you can also make a big score as well. The house edge on slots is around 10% usually. If they increased the edge, they know it would turn off the players, as they wouldn't last as long, and they would have a tendency not to come back and play.
Racinos know this, yet they still insist on making the house take on betting horses around 21% on average.
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Old 05-05-2009, 08:59 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SuffolkDowns Fan
I know every time I try to get friends to go to the track they have no interest (I am 35 years old) they all would prefer to drive an extra hour to the casino's near us. I would think that if the industry could advertise that for a $2 wager the Derby winner paid $103 or on a random day at the track an exacta or tri paid $200+ that would peak more interest in fans that know nothing about the sport. Granted it is tough to pick winners and there is more to it than that, but i think the generation of betters that have missed out on the track would see some of the payoffs for a $2 bet and give it a try. I would rather do that than play $25 minimum hands at one of the Indian casinos. For a $100 at the track I can last 10 races or more, for $100 at the casino i could be packing it in in about 5 minutes after 4 hands. I would think that some information about payoffs would be interesting to those people that know nothing about the sport. any thoughts?
I have been thinking about your post because its interesting since its actually a multi-faceted issue, the advertising angle is just one component. I firmly believe that a lot hinges on the differentiating features of the customer experience at a casino versus your typical day at the racetrack. For the longest time I have thought that racetracks could pick up a few items regarding customer service and the customer experience from casinos. The number one rule is to create an environment that is pleasant, comfortable and put people in the proper mindset to spend their money. I will be blunt and state that sometimes I feel like I have to tolerate stuff at racetracks and I visit enough different tracks each year that I have a very good feel for exactly what items I am going to run into that I will be less then thrilled with, in other words what amount of crap am I going to have to put up with (in fact I am actually going through that right now trying to figure out whether I want to go up to Belmont Memorial Day Weekend for the Met Mile). The reason I spend two week in Vegas each year at casinos like Wynn, Bellagio, Venetian, TheHotel is because I always have an exceptional time with fabulous food, exquisite surroundings and am treated very well. If I didn't really enjoy horse racing and playing the races, I would rarely attend the races, let alone planning my vacation around various stakes and track meets. Now there are a few tracks which do understand customer service such as Arlington Park and Keeneland, but they are an exception rather then the rule.

The reason I went on my little customer service rant is that needs to be addressed in order to get the full value of any sort of advertising campaign, no matter what marketing angle you are using.

Another interesting side note is how the mood level of a casino versus a typical day at the track. The mood level of a casino is set to make it "busy" and try to give the impression of high energy. There are a lot of racetracks, especially the bigger, older ones, have a very tired feel to them, very little buzz, almost like its sucking the energy out. I am convinced that is one of the reasons why special events like Friday Night Racing with Concerts at places like Hollywood Park play so well compared to just a typical day. It gives the facility more of dynamic buzz instead of being so stagnant and its easier to attract people to be a part of that.
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Old 05-05-2009, 09:58 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Judge Gallivan
People who like to win little and win often can bet favorites to place or show.
but this is really quite different than say playing slots. Slots pay off little bits often, while still allowing for some schmoe to get lucky and win a big jackpot, and get handed some big cardboard check.

Yes people can bet favorites to show, it's a little like a slot machine that had a maximum payoff of $1. I don't think it would get the same action as a progressive payoff machine.

The answer might be that there isn't a whole lot racing can do to get people like that.
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Old 05-05-2009, 10:03 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chickenhead
but this is really quite different than say playing slots. Slots pay off little bits often, while still allowing for some schmoe to get lucky and win a big jackpot, and get handed some big cardboard check.

Yes people can bet favorites to show, it's a little like a slot machine that had a maximum payoff of $1. I don't think it would get the same action as a progressive payoff machine.

The answer might be that there isn't a whole lot racing can do to get people like that.
Thats also why advertising the big payouts (such as the big Pick 6 and superfecta scores) have a downside because those are not wagers beginners should be playing. I think the angle that needs to be played is that its a game whereby you can gain an advantage if you are willing to do the work, which obviously is something absent in slot machines.

Also there is a Pavlovian element that is associated with slots and its harder to replicate that in racing.

Last edited by miesque; 05-05-2009 at 10:05 AM.
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Old 05-05-2009, 10:12 AM   #11
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How about this for a concept? We all agree that there is a different mentality involved with playing the slots then playing the ponies. It would probably be best to target those who are more numerically oriented. I would bet that its a lot harder to hook someone who majored in basket weaving and has a non quantitative career, then someone who is a nerdy bean counter like myself.
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Old 05-05-2009, 10:21 AM   #12
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Quote:
Also there is a Pavlovian element that is associated with slots and its harder to replicate that in racing.
ooh I like that, that's what I was trying to get at. Walking through a slots floor, it's like watching a bunch of fat dumb and happy zombie animals waiting to get their next food pellet from the nice machine.

Racing is more like a bunch of agitated, emaciated animals trying to outsmart an evil machine that refuses to let them eat.
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Old 05-05-2009, 10:37 AM   #13
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Casual fan for a night out, versus a bettor that loves the mind-game is a 100% different market as we all know. Racing for years has tried to lump them together.

A few random opines on the casual fan, that might be right, might be way off base, but here goes:

* Dont teach them how to bet at the start, give them ten cent supers every race. a five or six horse box is a small bet for a group and they might be able to 20X their cash. If they hit three or four of them in a night I think you have a new fan that will come back.

* Tell them how to play betting games. A show parlay where everyone throws in five bucks and each pick a horse and decide on one to show can be a ton of fun if it rolls over for five or so races.

* Shrink the venues size wise. Harness racing up here was at Woodbine in the summer. It was a monolith where the horses are a long way away, and there is virtually no one in the grandstand since it seats about 35k. They moved it to Mohawk, a fan friendly track, renovated it and it is awesome in the summer. You can get a beer have some fun and touch the horses. The place is pretty packed on Saturdays. If anyone is ever in Toronto going to woodbine, do yourself a favor and go to Mohawk on Saturday night if the weather is nice. The best facility fan-wise I have seen in racing.

* Do stuff between races. Interview people, have contests and that sort of thing. If a new fan is taking a six horse box, 10 times, he/she has to be entertained as they are not handicapping much between races.

That's my three cents.

Last edited by DeanT; 05-05-2009 at 10:39 AM.
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Old 05-05-2009, 10:43 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Judge Gallivan
People who like to win little and win often can bet favorites to place or show.
That's true, however it's waiting 25 to 30 minutes to "pull the handle" again that becomes boring, which brings into play some of the customer-service issues being explored here and which leads to what, for many, is an experience not worth repeating. We can talk all we want about the intellectual returns gained by horseplayers compared to other forms of gambling and there might be a small amount of truth therein. It will never make up for all of the time that I wasted on Tuesday-night trips to the liquor store and waiting around for Wednesdays' form's to come in so that I could begin another week of being treated like a 2nd-class citizen at my local racetracks.
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Old 05-05-2009, 10:52 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rrbauer
It will never make up for all of the time that I wasted on Tuesday-night trips to the liquor store and waiting around for Wednesdays' form's to come in so that I could begin another week of being treated like a 2nd-class citizen at my local racetracks.


I told an exec once about old Greenwood in downtown Toronto, when racing was the only legal game in town - "In those days when we walked up the steps to the clubhouse you could spray us with a fire hose filled with molasses and we would simply head up to the seats and open the program and start betting. Those days are over now"

We were treated as poor, or poorer than any customer of any business known to man. After twenty years this is beginning to change. Unfortunately many folks have left and can not see the changes because they were treated so poorly, and had their wallets picked with non-rebated high takeout for generations.
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