This past Saturday was a solid day of racing at Belterra Park. Now, I know its not Del Mar or the Spa, but it was the only track I was going to be in attendance. As I was walking in, a new player stopped me on my way up the elevator. He introduced himself, and I did the same. After we hit the top floor, he was more than interested in racing and made no bones about being a newbie. He asked me if I would give him the nickel tour someday, and I asked him if now was a good time? After a half an hour and talking with a next generation player. I started thinking about what attracted him in the first place, and what would it take to engage a newbie to leave the slots alone, and move toward the horses?
I explained about the three stake races, and the big money on the line. He asked a good question for a newbie. “You mean I can win $50,000?” Now, for the racing fans who may find themselves snickering. It was a good question from a new player. They aren’t familiar with the good horses running for the money, and they come from the casino side of gaming where players can win big money on certain machines or big promotional events. – This was food for thought as I walked him to the elevator for his ride back to the glitzy casino world.
I love the idea of a big winner. Is there anyone out there who doesn’t want to have a life changing payday? Racing offers very few, and for the ones that pay out the big dough. You have to smack down big bucks, or be one of the best cappers on the planet. So where does this leave the new player? Taking the elevator back to the casino.
How about a player pool? New players as well as regular racing fans could pluck down some money and have a shot. Yep, you could dance in the sun and not know much about the game. Wherever there is a large carryover, or a huge guaranteed pick-four pool. There could be a player’s pool at the track. Fans could take part buying a “share” of the pool, and would be entitled to a payoff depending on how much they invested. Just like every ADW does, and many betting sites. The track could offer up a host of handicappers from the DRF, Equibase, and the morning line odds maker. The pool would close the night before. They would start at $2, and it would be up to your comfort level on how much you want to invest. The tote company would sell “shares” to players by making wagers at the windows, on betting machines, or phone or tablet. The wager would be a group venture, and could be paid off by cashing in your ticket. – The wager would be designed by the group, and would be posted on the website, the tote board, the infield screens, and even the tellers could punch out a copy of the selected tickets. Sound easy, well it is…. The “Big Ticket” is a do-able venture, and it may catch the interest of gamblers who don’t know much about racing. They’re already there and that is the hard part. Casino players are more than seasoned to play for the big jackpot for a minimal wager. They know the odds are long, and they still play anyway. Why don’t we show them that racing has some great opportunities, and the odds may be better. I’ll bet if they hit just once they’ll want to learn more about racing. What do we have to lose? We have a built in captive audience, and all we have to do is get out the message.
At most racinos and casinos, there is a “bad-ass” sports bar. If not, they may be leaving plenty of money on the table. But I digress. How about keeping a roving clerk that will move around the bar selling tickets on the races. There will be a dedicated bank of screens, and the bartenders could sell programs and other data. How about a free tip sheet for the players who want to catch the big game, grab a brew, and watch a few races? Sound like fun? You’ll probably catch me in there from time-to-time. Good food, cold beer, football, and horse racing. What more can you ask for?
Most tracks make a chunk of their money from food and beverage. How about bringing them all together? No more keeping right and left hand separate, now is the time to crank up the action. What could be better for any action junkie?? As far as the big ticket, you could have free drawings shares, and all they have to do is have a loyalty card and be on hand. The track could pony up from the advertising budget and buy in for $1,000. Gamblers from all walks love the idea of winning something for nothing. Why not give them the opportunity?