What’s A Track To Do?

by Ed Meyer

posted on December 31, 2009 in General Discussion | No Comments >>

When you take the most conservative track in the world, and get new and innovative leadership, things will surely change…. You bet they did, and it doesn’t look like they have plans to close the books just yet.

Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Kentucky was as conservative as they came. There were eight races daily, and one early daily double. You would think folks would think twice, but they packed the place daily to the brim. With only 15 days in April, and 15 days in October, this was the boutique meet the world awaited.

This track is heaven on earth… They began by getting an announcer, and a damn good one with Kurt Becker. Then they started rolling out wagers only the big boys would try. When others suffered handle problems, they showed a small decline or even a small increase. They are the gold standard of being good….

Now, the NTRA is sending out a survey. It is about the odds being shown differently. Instead of being shown as: 2-1, it would come out as 2.8. This would allow players to see that the payout would be better than a flat 2-1. This is accepted by the highest of chairs, and the gent I spoke to today informed me that Keeneland is at the forefront of wagering integrity. How many times have you been 5-2 coming down the lane, and then it flips to 2-1? The payoff turns out to be $6.80 to win. You were close to a 5-2 payout, but it dropped just a bit. I know, how many times has it went up compared to the drop?  Hardly ever…….

They want to offer the players the ability to see payoffs and fluctuations with handle. I like the idea, but it bites while it kisses. All the while you are informing the hardcore player, you are losing the attention of the new player. I love the idea, but I am not the only one playing.

Just think of Aunt Millie with her two bucks to win looking at the board betting a long shot who is 23.7.  What will it pay? Who does she ask?  Is there a section in the program that will help her understand? Will it talk to her?  I know, too many questions….

How about that U.K student decked out in the blue blazer and khakis? Will he or she know what 3.4 will pay? The answer is no…. No matter how much attention you pay to education, you will miss people. I have loved watching Keeneland going big time. No matter what, I have loved the changes. For me, if I see it is going to be 2.9, I know it is a very high 2-1 shot, and the payoff will be almost $7.00. But that is me. I gamble. I love wagering. I have been playing most of my life. Doesn’t scare me at all…. But, as someone who works at a track, I know it is hard enough to draw new people to the game. Don’t confuse the menu at a steakhouse by offering hot dogs…. I know the exact wagers will satisfy some of the big players. But, you will kill off many prospects for new players by making it hard to understand.  Make it easier. Make it accessible. Make it interesting. You can serve the off-track betting public by having a separate scrolling message at the bottom. It will look like the stock market, but the point will be made. You will satisfy all, and keep the integrity of the game intact.  Everyone wins…….

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