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They're Bettors, Not Bank Customers

The dichotomy between racing's treatment of their customer base versus the way other gambling games treat theirs is always eye-opening to me.

One looks at the base like they're customers of a bank, the other treats theirs like they're, well, skill game gamblers.

It was reported by the AGA that there will be $10.4 billion dollars wagered in some form on the NCAA tournament this year. Today, David provided us with some early buzz surrounding the wagering of the event.
These are with ten cent lines (about 4.5% takeout, as is customary since, forever), myriad betting products, and a will to grow said betting products.

Meanwhile, horse racing takes a different approach.

I heard there's been a new rule passed in Ontario for racing. Super betting is now allowed in five horse fields, trifecta betting in four. This is nickel and dimesville.

I see Ontario - and others - have not passed a rule to stop the advertising of fictitious payouts; y'know, when there's $40,000 in an entire pool, but if only one twenty cent ticket is owned, the payoff shows as $200,000. Try getting away with that in a lottery, i.e. allowing Power Ball to advertise $2B payoffs for a $5 ticket, instead of $400M that's actually in the $1 ticket base price.

California, oh California, sucks money out of a pool for a jackpot payoff - which does pretty much no one but the track and whales any good - then messes up the last leg with an all, in effect assuring 15% of the pool will be carried over.

Have you heard about the extra takeout charges in Ontario on simo-product? I bet most customers don't even realize they're paying them.

Is there even a law the price of a bet even has to be advertised? I doubt it, because even when you ask a track what their takeout rates are, half the time you're looked at like you're from that new planet.

Breakage? Breakage has been nothing more than an extra charge since breakage was invented. The technology to fix breakage has been around forever, but, again - nickel and diming in the truest sense of the word.

Uncashed tickets? If these are not cashed, they go right into general revenues. Let's slice a little more.

Hidden charges, not advertising properly, tris and supers with very short fields, standing in line for a post drag waiting for a virtual teller, surcharges, cancelled legs, unknown pricing..... the list is seemingly endless.

It leads me to concur, racing is a bank.  A big old, bank. "What can we charge them for next, that they won't know, won't see, and won't complain too much about?"


Banks can get away with it because their customers are not betting customers. Paying a bank $1 for use of a machine is not dependent on them giving you their money to hold. Wagering customers, however, have to possess a replenished bankroll to keep playing your product. Every drip, every nickel and dime, matters to a skill-game gambling customer, and it's directly correlated to how much, and for how long, they wager on the sport of horse racing.

The amount wagered on the NCAA tourney will be near equal to what's wagered on horse racing the next 365 days. You'd think with the popularity of the tournament they'd want to raise the juice to 11% instead of 4.5%, no? Maybe add surcharges here or there. Maybe they'd force you to play parlays, where the rake is hidden, and higher.

Ask yourself why they don't. It helps us understand how this event has had double digit percentage gambling growth the last decade, and why (in part), by next year, people will bet more on an eleven day basketball event with 19 year old kids, than they will in an entire year in North American horse racing.


Comments

Anonymous said…
Nobody at Laurel Park is allowed to complain about on-track ADW wagers while you're charging $6.25 for an ATM withdrawal.