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Old 01-11-2012, 02:58 PM   #1
David-LV
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NHC / NTRA Issues

I have been a Tournament and Horseplayer for over 40 years. I thought I had seen everything until I read this email. I am posting it here because it is extremely important to the future of Handicapping Contests and the Brick & Mortar sites who offer them.

___________
David-LV



January 5, 2012 – To All Horseplayer's and C.E.O,'s of NTRA Member and Affiliate Tracks


Does the NTRA work on behalf of it's members or compete against them, while charging the Tournament and Tour Players a huge fee in the form of a "hold" to compete in non-member online Contests, and who directly benefits from this "hold"?

Appearances would suggest that the answer is yes, and yes. The greater question should be; What is the impact on racing when this happens and who does it benefit or impact negatively? An equally important question might be; Is this a conflict of interest?

This is a complex issue, so a little background information is necessary.

In mid 2011, as a member the Horseplayer's Advisory Committee to the NTRA, and while in the process of calculating the Entry Fees paid by Contest venues to see if we would reach the $2 Million goal for the NHC Final, I was surprised to find the actual total Contest Fee revenue to be significantly more than would be distributed to the Championship contestants. With no answers forthcoming, this issue became a growing concern and a request for clarification was brought up in Committee discussion and forwarded to the NTRA and was returned with the following response. "The NTRA owns the NHC and they will run it as they see fit". We were also told that it (the "hold") was announced publicly in late 2010 and would not be discussed further. I've saved every NTRA Tour and Tournament email or snail mail from the past 4 years. There is not one mention that the NTRA will "hold", for it's own discretionary use, Tournament/Contest Fees in excess of $3,333.33 (or any other amount) per qualifying spot from Non-member Tournament sites. This lack of transparency for the Players, and it's reflection on my integrity in the horseplayer community, is the main reason for my resignation from the Committee on December 20, 2011.

Since October of 2011 I have posed the following question to approximately 75 Contest and NTRA Tour Player's. Are you aware that not all NHC Contest Fees directly benefit the purse of the NHC Final? Not one person was aware of this and all wanted an explanation and clarity regarding the "hold". Here's the answer.

1. NTRA Member Site's pay approximately $3,333 for each qualifying spot to the Final from entry fees. These fees directly benefit the NHC Final and Purse.

2. Non NTRA Member Site's pay in the range of $6,500-$7,100 for each qualifying spot. Only $3,333 of these amounts directly benefits the NHC Final and Purse.

3. Apparently the NTRA believes that this "hold" of greater than $3,333 per qualifying spot is a way to generate the equivalence of Membership Fees, unfortunately it comes at the direct expense of the Players.

4. The NTRA will take from the Player's Entries Fees, a "hold" of almost $700,000 in 2012 if the projected number of 200+ non-member online contests at NHCQualify.com & HorseTourneys.com is accurate. If you then consider that Twin Spires who offered 40-50 spots in 2010 and are expected to do at least the same in 2012, the “hold” could jump to approximately $866,000.

5. The NTRA Tour prizes are funded from yearly Tour Membership Fees paid by the Player's. Some of the Membership fees cover other NHC costs. Currently, there is no way of knowing if any of these fees are “held” by the NTRA.

On December 23, 2011 I sent a "letter to the Editor" of the Daily Racing Form (a copy is included below). As of January 5, 2012 I have not received the courtesy of a response, nor has it been published. It's reasonable to interpret the reason behind DRF's unwillingness to publish my "letter to the editor" if one considers that Daily Racing Form LLC is listed as an official sponsor of the NTRA Association and is a stated partner with the NTRA on other (UN-named) ventures. It is not a certainty that the DRF does or does not materially benefit from the "hold" taken by the NTRA from non-Member Contests.

The reality of this situation!

The NTRA owns the Tour and NHC Final. It is a "for-profit" business subsidiary of the NTRA. They have the right and responsibility to set and adjust the rules and regulations as they see fit. They also have the legal right to add a surcharge or "hold" at their sole discretion to/from any and all Tour or Tournament Fees. However, it does not serve the greater good of racing when there is no transparency about said fees and a reluctance to make them public knowledge.

The Player's have the right to know what NHC rules, surcharges or "hold's" are currently in existence. Almost all contest sites whether online or Brick & Mortar "hold" up to 25% above the respective contest fees they remit to the NTRA per qualifying spot. The good news for the Player's is that greater than 75% of all Member Contest Fees directly benefit the NHC Final. The bad news for the Player's is that less than 30% of all Non-Member Contest Fees directly benefit the NHC Final. This capital drain and the lack of contest purses will eventually result in the end of NHC Qualifying Contests at Brick & Mortar sites, soon followed by the online contests when the horseplayer's finally see the light.

The Player's also have the right to participate or NOT participate in any Contests, including those that have an additional or exorbitant surcharge or "hold" that instantly becomes dead money that will never be returned to them. It's strictly an individual choice.

The Player's have other choices. For example, The Horse Players World Series at the Orleans has a Purse in excess of $700,000, returns all entry fees, and in addition they fund the daily prize pool. It's also worthy of note that online Qualifier's for the HPWS have an average hold of less than 20%.

Why should the Player's be concerned?

Apparently this fee or "hold" started a few years ago with the inception of online qualifying contests at NHCQualify.com. As the NTRA continues to have less and less impact on Racing, it will lose more and more members. One option will be to hold an ever increasing number of online non-Member Contests to help fund the NTRA. The next indication of this happening is the projected increase to in excess of 200 online qualifying spots for 2012 between NHCQualify.com and HorseTourneys.com alone. Another option will be to attempt to sell the NHC and Tour business to an outside interest, while it still has value. This idea lacks merit simply because the new owners would then have to recover their purchase costs, and that would naturally be expected to come from the Player's entry fees. Same horse, different owner!

As of December 31, 2006 the NTRA financials showed Total Assets of $32,437,194. As of December 31, 2010 the NTRA financials showed Total Assets of $4,394,254. In four years the NTRA had lost 86.5% of it's value. A further drop to <$3,000,000 Total Assets is expected to be shown in this year's financials. As members leave the NTRA fold the number of online contests will grow and the "hold" will increase. The horseplayer's wagers are the life-blood of the sport. Tournament entry fees come from the Player's wagering bankroll. If the NTRA member contraction continues, the NTRA can be expected to do their best vampire impression and take (hold) just a little more of the life-blood from the Player's, and then a bit more, and on and on until there is nothing left to take.

Why should the NTRA Members and Member Tracks be concerned?

The exorbitant NTRA "Fee to Compete in Non-Member Tournaments" (the total burden of which rests with the Horseplayer's) brings with it the unintended consequence of an exponentially negative impact on the Racing Industry. The most basic reality of Horseracing is the fact that it is funded by wagering, most of which comes from the Horseplayers, some of whom are also Owners. It is an accepted fact that when Win-Place-Show take-out exceed 17%, the handle drops significantly. A reduced takeout results in increased handle. As an example, when NYRA reduced their WPS takeout a number of years ago to the 14-15% range, their handle increased significantly. It is also a fact that on the days following a huge carryover being hit, the daily handle is much lower than on corresponding days. This is known as "the dead money effect".
In 2011, there was a significant drop in the number of entry's and attendance at the Brick & Mortar Contests. The single biggest reason for this was the massive increase in the Non-member online Contests, most of which were scheduled on the same days as Brick & Mortar events. Many of these contests were mid-to-late year additions to the tournament schedule and inserted without regard to the devastating effect if would have on the Brick & Mortar's who had already planned, advertised, and invested time, money, and effort. The late arriving Super Qualifier's can best be described as a disaster. Member tracks affected by this poorly planned scheduling debacle by the NTRA lost money, handle, and unfortunately credibility through no fault of their own.

I'm not sure if the NTRA Member Tracks are aware, and if so, have considered how devastating such a conflict of interest (the hold) is to their growth and existence. The Membership Fees they pay to the NTRA are expected to grow their customer base and profitability. The "hold" will shrink the Players' bankroll by about $700,000 in 2012 to "dead money". Dead money, in this case, is wagering capital permanently removed from play. Most horseplayer's I have interacted with in the past 40 years have had a specified bankroll or a yearly amount of discretionary dollars set aside for wagering. The magic of the bankroll is it's exponential value as it is churned over and over again. Most put the yearly churn rate for a bankroll in the 40 to 50 times range. This means that a $10,000 bankroll can yield $400,000-$500,000 in wagers each year. So what is the effect of $700,000 "dead money" on the NTRA Member Tracks handle. $700,000x40 churn rate=$28,000,000 or $700,000x50 churn rate=$35,000,000. Even a churn rate of 30 would result in $21,000,000 less in wagers.

A few things to ponder:

If the mission of the NTRA Coalition, as stated in April of 2008, is to improve the economics of pari-mutuel wagering for horseplayer's and racetracks, why then is there so little transparency when it comes to extracting huge sums of money from the Players, and in effect penalizing their members at the same time.

In 2009, the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance instituted a Code. A worthy endeavor indeed. "The Code focuses on six areas: equine injury reporting and prevention; drug testing and medication; safety protocols; research; equine retraining and retirement; and wagering integrity". You will notice that wagering integrity (the Horseplayer) is the also-ran of this group. Some might wonder why integrity does not include informing the Horseplayer's that they are now a funding mechanism for the NTRA to the tune of an estimated $700,000 in 2012 and who knows how much in the near future. Transparency and Integrity go hand-in-hand in the real world. The NTRA Members and affiliates each know exactly how much they are contributing to the NTRA and how it is spent. Isn't it time that the Horseplayer's whose wagering dollars actually fund the sport, are as well informed.

What do you think the daily handle would be at your favorite track if the ("hold") take-out was 70% on every bet you made?

One final thought. It would be great if the main internet contest sites (HorseplayersQaulify.com - NHCQualify.com – HorseTourneys.com – TwinSpires.com) could get together to create the next great national contest experience where everyone is satisfied with up to a 20% business fee ("hold"), full transparency of costs and benefits, where all the contests have a purse, and the Championship Final represents all Entry Fees.

Sincerely,
Edward J. De'Ath

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

Letter to the Editor: DRF -- December 23, 2011

Is the NTRA National Handicapping Championship becoming a Lottery or Casino?

Most, if not all, Tour Members will be surprised to hear that not all NHC Contest Fees directly benefit the purse of the NHC Final.

NTRA Member Site's pay approximately $3,333 for each qualifying spot to the Final. Non-NTRA Member Site's pay in the range of $6,500-$7,100 for each qualifying spot.

Apparently, ALL Entry fees in excess of the approximately $3,333 per qualifying spot are held by the NTRA as a business fee. It has been explained that the NTRA owns the rights to the NHC. As an example, NHCQualify.com and HorseTourneys.com, who are Non NTRA Members, are expected to propose a 2012 schedule that offers over 200 qualifying spots. Assuming 200 spots, a simple calculation of a minimum $3,000 "hold" per spot will net the NTRA a cool $600,000 in 2012. To be fair, HoreseplayersQualify.com, NHCQualify.com and HorseTourneys.com offer complete transparency that indicates their "hold" of up to 20%, which is the accepted norm. There are other non-member sites but none as large. The average betting "hold" in racing is about 20% so this is not an issue.

The questions I would ask all Tournament Players is; Are you aware of this "hold" and are you willing to pay this price to compete, and what exactly are they doing for the players to earn such a substantial fee? Personally, I was very disappointed and discouraged to recently find that we are being charged this 50% fee and it is not common knowledge amongst the Players. Of the 40+ players I have spoken to in the past 2 months, NOT ONE was aware of this "hold". We end up competing for a benefit of ONLY 30% of these Contests. The final insult is that those who are skilled enough to win the year-end big prizes then get the opportunity to share an additional 28%+ with the IRS. Lotteries also "hold" 50% and then you get to pay tax on your winnings.

The approximate $700,000 NTRA "hold" effectively becomes Dead Money. The Dead Money Effect is when a significant amount of betting capital is removed from play, never to return. Online (Non NTRA Member) Site's offer NO PURSE money. Purse money is churn money. Churn money keeps us and our bankroll's solvent and allows us to continue to play, whether in contests or our daily wagers, to the direct benefit of racing. The unintended consequence's of this "hold" is that it has had a huge negative impact on the Contests, and handle at the Brick & Mortar Tracks and Contest Sites. It will not be surprising to see a significant number of defections from the Brick & Mortar Contest scene.

My greatest fear is that in the near future the NTRA will continue to lose Industry support (Members) and the burden of their existence will rest with the Fees they levy on the Contest Players.

I have a one suggestion.....Periodically, DRF publishes the "hold" for all bets at all North American Tracks. As a founding supporter of the National Handicapping Championship and it’s players, how about publishing the Contest "holds" relative to these events. Maybe it's time for Noel Michaels to update his Handicapping Contest Handbook again.

It's ALL about transparency or lack of it in this instance. The issue IS NOT whether the NTRA can legally "hold" 50% of (Non-NTRA Member) Contest Entry Fees. The issue IS that ALL Contestants who purchase an Entry should be made aware of the "hold" so they can make a choice to play (pay) or not, based on all the facts. No more, no less!

With great respect for all Handicappers and Tourney Players,
Edward J. De'Ath

Last edited by David-LV; 01-11-2012 at 03:00 PM.
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Old 01-12-2012, 11:33 PM   #2
aratrace
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Thanks for Posting my letter, David.

David,

Thank you for posting my letter on this thread.

I'm gratified to see that there have been so many who have viewed it. I was able to distribute it to over 3000 players via email. Many have responded and all were positive with the exception of one fella who also doesn't believe in Transparency.

Knowledge is power and aids us in making profitable decisions. Armed with the knowledge there is a substantial "hold" by the NTRA in non-NTRA member contests you can now decide whether to participate or not.

Feel free to pass it on to all who care about the future of racing.

Best regards,
Edward J. De'Ath
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Old 01-15-2012, 02:13 PM   #3
David-LV
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Thanks Ed for the insight and info.

_______
David-LV

Last edited by David-LV; 01-15-2012 at 02:20 PM.
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Old 01-15-2012, 07:48 PM   #4
garyscpa
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Just playing devil's advocate here, but isn't it still the best bang for our buck for a chance to qualify? We all don't live in Las Vegas.
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Old 01-16-2012, 12:37 AM   #5
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garyscpa - Your point has some validity.

This issue is less about comparing the costs of attending a Brick & Mortar and more about "hold" and Purse. If the substantial "hold" did not exist, these (held) funds could be paid as winnings. In this case it would be less expensive to play online.

The choice is to play online for NO purse to save travel expenses, or attend a Brick & Mortar where you have a shot at a decent share of a Purse as well as qualifying.

It's important to note that the greater the number of Online (hold) contests, the less people attend the Brick & Mortars. The "hold" will suck the capital from the players in the form of dead money. There will be a tipping point when the B & M's decide not to hold contests.

The tipping point could be sometime this year with approximately 270 qualifying spots being offered online. 260 spots spaced over 47 weeks is an average of greater than 5 per week. Almost all of these spots will be offered on the weekend, which happens to be when almost all B & M contests are held.

Las Vegas (T.I.) had only 3 qualifiers for the NHC in 2011, and they will have a last chance on January 25, 2012, two days before the final.

Regards,
Edward J. De'Ath
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Old 01-16-2012, 07:33 PM   #6
garyscpa
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Yes, the brick and mortar tourneys are becoming few and far between. Worse, they are not always scheduled very far in advance, so it's tough to schedule.

But does the NTRA claim that all entry fees will go toward NHC spots? Surely there is some overhead involved.
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Old 01-17-2012, 02:53 PM   #7
aratrace
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Re: Surely there is some overhead involved.

Excellent question!

The simple response is that the NTRA does not tell us anything about their "hold". The next and more important question is, Why? You can be certain that they would trumpet the numbers if the "overhead cost" was at least reasonably close to the "hold".

In the beginning of the NTRA the NHC Handicapping Championship was created to provide a year-end "eclipse award" worthy event, grow the player base, enhance the horseplayer experience and benefit the NTRA member tracks through increased attendance and handle. All contest entry fees were earmarked for the benefit of the Championship. All related overhead was absorbed by the Member Tracks and Association dues.

As the NHC Final grows there is absolutely increased overhead. Tour membership fees cover some of these additional costs. How much is the question....and the answer from is the same......silence!

It's also important to note that the exponential growth of Online Contests will continue to erode any NTRA benefit to the Brick & Mortar's, who just happen to be paying significant dues to the NTRA. Is it possible that this (conflict of interest) may be the reason the NTRA doesn't want the light of transparency to shine too brightly?
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Old 01-17-2012, 05:07 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aratrace
Excellent question!

The simple response is that the NTRA does not tell us anything about their "hold". The next and more important question is, Why? You can be certain that they would trumpet the numbers if the "overhead cost" was at least reasonably close to the "hold".

In the beginning of the NTRA the NHC Handicapping Championship was created to provide a year-end "eclipse award" worthy event, grow the player base, enhance the horseplayer experience and benefit the NTRA member tracks through increased attendance and handle. All contest entry fees were earmarked for the benefit of the Championship. All related overhead was absorbed by the Member Tracks and Association dues.

As the NHC Final grows there is absolutely increased overhead. Tour membership fees cover some of these additional costs. How much is the question....and the answer from is the same......silence!

It's also important to note that the exponential growth of Online Contests will continue to erode any NTRA benefit to the Brick & Mortar's, who just happen to be paying significant dues to the NTRA. Is it possible that this (conflict of interest) may be the reason the NTRA doesn't want the light of transparency to shine too brightly?

Thanks for bringing all to light. I assumed that funds were set aside for administrative costs: maintaining website, staff personnel, miscellaneous overhead - NTRA personnel fly to Brick & Mortar contests to sign-up membership which seems like an expense that could be saved by asking the venue management to utilize their staff member to oversee the simple procedure.

In recent years, several mid-Atlantic tracks: Delaware, PARX and Laurel have dropped-out of NTRA membership. Both Delaware and Laurel have switched to HPWS participation and Parx no longer has a contest. Monmouth has continued participation but eliminated the late Summer/Fall 2011 contest and has only scheduled the Simulcast Series Challenge in 2012.

Brick & Mortars provide a higher stipend for travel than NTRA Qualify - $400 to $250. Travel expense was fully covered by B & Ms before the escalation of airfare prices. NTRA considered offering discount fares, instead of paying the $250, as promised.

The DRF and other media are trade publications that depend on advertising revenue from tracks. Never expect an expose' of wrongdoing by track management or the NTRA. I assume that DRF does not benefit from the "hold" and is a co-sponsor to market their products.
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Old 01-18-2012, 02:08 PM   #9
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Spiderman - You only scraped the surface!

The one bright light on the east coast tournament scene is Monmouth. I suspect the reason is that they run other contests as well as feeder contests to the qualifying events.

As for "You only scraped the surface!"

The following tracks no longer offer NHC Qualifying Contests.
Remington Park, Sam Houston, Portland Meadows, Laurel, Sunland Park, Indiana, Ellis Park (Brick & Mortar), Hoosier Park, Retama, River Downs, Turf Paradise, Delaware, Philadelphia (Parx) Park, Calder, Tampa Bay, Arlington Park, Prairie Meadows, Colonial Downs, Golden Gate.

The following tracks have substantially reduced the number of Qualifying spots or are considering eliminating contests altogether.
Emerald Downs, Surfside Race Place, Fairplex Park, Canterbury Park, Thistledown, Santa Anita, Hollywood Park, Beulah Park,

These lost Brick & Mortar contests are being replaced by the higher NTRA "hold" online contests. It is expected that there will be 260-280 online spots offered in 2012 and this number will increase again in 2013 if more Brick & Mortars leave the fold.

Regards,
Edward J. De'Ath
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Old 01-18-2012, 11:46 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aratrace
The one bright light on the east coast tournament scene is Monmouth. I suspect the reason is that they run other contests as well as feeder contests to the qualifying events.

As for "You only scraped the surface!"

The following tracks no longer offer NHC Qualifying Contests.
Remington Park, Sam Houston, Portland Meadows, Laurel, Sunland Park, Indiana, Ellis Park (Brick & Mortar), Hoosier Park, Retama, River Downs, Turf Paradise, Delaware, Philadelphia (Parx) Park, Calder, Tampa Bay, Arlington Park, Prairie Meadows, Colonial Downs, Golden Gate.

The following tracks have substantially reduced the number of Qualifying spots or are considering eliminating contests altogether.
Emerald Downs, Surfside Race Place, Fairplex Park, Canterbury Park, Thistledown, Santa Anita, Hollywood Park, Beulah Park,

These lost Brick & Mortar contests are being replaced by the higher NTRA "hold" online contests. It is expected that there will be 260-280 online spots offered in 2012 and this number will increase again in 2013 if more Brick & Mortars leave the fold.

Regards,
Edward J. De'Ath
Ed

Was just reading a similar thread on the HTR website and saw a couple of responses that questioned the numbers you used to arrive at the NTRA hold in your letter. Can you shed some light on this or provide some form of proof to reconcile your numbers.

Thanks,
________

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Old 01-19-2012, 01:30 AM   #11
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David: re HTR Thread

Yes David, we are having a spirited discussion on the HTR Discussion group with a thread about the NTRA "hold". Here's a link to the thread for those interested in following it too.

http://homebased2.com/forums/showthread.php?t=11991

Regards,
Edward J. De'Ath


One of group was questioning who is the "bad guy" and the validity of the suggested "hold" amounts - I responded with the following:
----------------------------------------------------
Jim, with respect:

I disagree with your conclusion that,
Quote:
"our acid laden comments are being directed against the wrong party. The bad guys are not the NTRA but rather, the qualifying contest sponsors".
It's a huge jump to label the online sites as the "bad guys" when you have the facts and do some basic calculations. I will provide some facts, not conjecture, hearsay or second hand confirmations. lt is my intention to hopefully put this discussion back on course to the issue of the great need for transparency.

I'm having trouble following your logic on a couple of points. I am confused by the two following paragraphs you wrote. First you agree with Mike, and then 4 paragraphs later you state the opposite regarding the disbursement of the $6500 tournament Fee. Which is it? See the italicized bold face statements.
Quote:
"First the online NHC qualifying contests. As Mike Mayo has confirmed, these entities pay the NTRA approximately $6,500 per spot. From the $6,500, the NTRA pays for TI hotel room rate for 3 nights and issues a $250 travel voucher. The entire remainder of the $6,500 goes to the NHC purse. What more can the NTRA do to enhance the NHC purse-nothing. If we don't agree,with the allocation of the entry fees that the onsite entities receive, our complaints should be directed against the onsite operators and their high take out and not the NTRA."

"Non-member tracks pay aproximately twice that amount for NHC spots. The difference between the amount that non-member tracks pay for NHC spots and the amounts that member tracks pay is retained by the NTRA for their other endeavors. We should not have a problem with that allocation because the non-member tracks benefit from the lobbying efforts funded by the member tracks."
Secondly, I hope the following facts (below) will change your tone of "complaints" (as referenced in your following quotes) into "requests" for transparency. After all, we are all focused here on making things better. We are not looking for "bad guys" just a reasonable response to our transparency concerns.
Quote:
"Our complaints should be directed against the non-member tracks that attempt to recover the increased costs of the NHC qualifying spots through the take out on their contests. The NTRA has no input whatsoever on take out rates at local contest sites."

"So lets focus on reducing takeouts and not on unfounded complaints against the NTA."
It is important to note that the Online Sites DO NOT ask for more qualifying spots. The NTRA dictates exactly how many spots they will allot to each site and requests dates to match the request.

The facts, and some calculations show that the Online Sites "hold" fluctuates between 17% and 25%. This represents gross "hold" and includes their cost of doing business. These costs include credit card fees, web-site creation, management and hosting, as well as data input, contest monitoring, email notifications, salary, etc.

.20x$6500x180 = $202,500 (Online average hold of 20% representing 180 spots)

It's important to remember that the increase in the number of online spots is relative to the decrease in Brick & Mortar sites, and the NTRA desire to grow the NHC Final to 500 contestants and beyond.

The Facts:

I will quote from two (2) NTRA authored documents. These documents will clarify the intention and actions of the NTRA as it pertains to the cost of Non-member Fees, Hotel, and Airfare.

Document 1. - 2011-2012 Daily Racing From/NTRA National Handicapping Championship Fact Sheet.

Page 1 - Paragraph 1.
Quote:
"The $2 million estimated Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championship is the richest, most important tournament of the year for horseplayers and is the culmination of a yearlong series of NTRA-sanctioned local tournaments conducted by racetracks, casino race books, off-track betting facilities and horse racing and handicapping Web sites, each of which sends its top qualifiers to the national finals. Qualifying for the 2012 Daily Racing Form/NTRA Handicapping Championship (NHC) takes place form January 1, 2011 through December 31, 2011."
Page 1 - Subhead 3.
Quote:
"3. Cost to host a qualifying event:
3 seats for $20,000, or $6900 per spot"
Page 2 - Subhead 9.
Quote:
"9. Sites wishing to hold a qualifying tournament for the NHC must pay a host fee to the NTRA and cover the travel and hotel costs associated with sending qualifiers to the NHC in Las Vegas. The NTRA will secure preferred rates the NHC host hotel in Las Vegas. Qualifying sites also will be responsible for all cash and/or prizes offered at their local qualifying tournament. With the exception of airfare and hotel accommodations for participants, the NTRA will be responsible for all cas and/or prizes offered at the NHC."
Document 2. - NTRA NATIONAL HANDICAPPING CHAMPIONSHIP QUALIFIER HOST AGREEMENT

Page 2 - Under Host Site Obligations. Host site agrees as follows:
Quote:
"(b) (ii) NHC Travel Costs. Host Site agrees to pay the hotel and travel costs for each of the qualifiers from its NHC Qualifiers(s) to the 2012 NHC."
The following is a quote from an Eric Wing article explaining the field size and expected total Purse. It allows us to make some simple calculations to better quantify the size of the "hold" by the NTRA and the Online Contest Sites.

January 10, 2012 - Eric Wing NTRA post.
Quote:
"More than 4,500 NHC Tour members participated in 2011 handicapping qualifiers. Treasure Island will host a “Last Chance” qualifier on January 25 that will offer the final five berths for the January 27-28 NHC where 500 contestants will compete for a first prize of $1 million and a total estimated prize pool of $1.675 million, including cash and prizes. But that Last Chance qualifier on January 26 will not award NHC Tour points."
This translates to: $1,675,000/500 = $3350 per spot (It appears that the last chance contest will bring close to the 500)

My attempt at Transparency!
These documents were created by and for the NTRA. To be fair I should state that they clearly indicate the intent of the NTRA but do not identify the actual signed agreements from any site. It is entirely possible that HorseTourneys.com, NHCQaulify.com, TwinSpires.com, HorsePlayers.com and other online sites agreed to different terms.

Here are some calculations based on the $6500 per spot entry fee and the projected total of 180 online spots for 2011.

$6,500-$3,333 = $3167 (member contribution to NHC purse is $3,333)

180x$3,167 = $570,060 total hold (nothing used for Travel/Hotel)

180x$2,467 = $444,060 total hold ($450 Hotel/$250 Travel = $700 representing 180 online spots)

4500x$45 = $202,500 (proceeds from Tour membership of 4500+ of which the purse $125,000, insurance on $2 million bonus $25,000)

.20x$6500x180 = $202,500 (Online average hold of 20% representing 180 spots)

To use your terminology Jim, I think I'm barking up exactly the right tree. Whether it is $444,060 or $570,060 plus the excess of Tour registration funds it is very relevant. The online providers "hold" is transparent and includes a value added service which at 20% is not unreasonable to most. We are having difficulty seeing the value added service provided by the NTRA for the benefit of the Players that comes with the hefty price tag of approximately $500,000 this year.

It's a real eye-opener when you do the calculations and change the number of available online spots to approximately 270 for the 2012 season.

The base issue remains unchanged.
We, the players, would like transparency regarding the use of Tour Fees and non-member Contest Entry Fees.

Regards,
Edward J. De'Ath
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