The latest wave of reaching the new player is on the ropes. It’s hard to believe, but the newbie player is an illusive beast to capture. Tracks, OTB’s, ADW’s and everyone who takes a wager has tried to reach over the fence and extend the olive branch. There are groups who are doing good work, and they are knocking down some barriers. I started off with a hesitant opinion, but my optimism kicked in and washed away the fog. I want racing to survive, but it may take more than silly hats, spinning wheels, and $1 beers. The player of tomorrow has been brought up with 157 channels on TV, rapid fire video games that give you reality based dialogue and instant decisions, and being able to shop, order food, and text while doing multiple things at once. Maybe it’s too slow for them. I read an article that proclaimed the popularity of the speedy video gambling is akin to electronic heroin. Now, I find that a little tough to swallow, but it is starting to sink in.
I was reading a Facebook post about a disgruntled player specialist who tore into the parent company over an error. Now, before we take them out back and tar and feather them. What were they saying? They may be off base, but the passion was there. They could use an old fashioned lesson in professionalism, but there was something to taken from this. New players who visit the track for $1 beer night are betting little to nothing. That is a fact. Tracks are looking to make the night on cheap food and beverage. Tracks don’t have to split the money with horsemen in the form of purses, and the ability to showcase their facility. Sounds good to me, but the party is more of a drawing card than the beauty of racing. This is where we may be losing the opportunity to reach the new player. Here are a couple of ideas to find that new player who thrives on rapid-fire action.
Players can buy into a “night at the track package.” For $10, or $15 dollars. The guest can fund their account. They will receive three $1 beer tickets, a program, and download an app for their phone. The players will be a part of a “group pool” and they’ll have the ability to vote on who they like in the upcoming race. The app will have a special tip sheet from the track handicapper, and they’ll be able to follow along by looking at the program, tip sheet, and watch the results of the survey question on who is the most popular horse among the group. The group wager will be posted periodically on the jumbo board, and the entire track can watch as the party is getting their bet down. The bet will be made on the top selection at one minute to post. The pool will be administered by the group leader, and the group will have a share in the wagering pool. Can it work? Nothing has so far, and we might as well give it a shot.
Players can vote, and have a place to comment for all participants in the group wager to view. It’s a social night at the races, and think about this. If there are 100 people who take part in the wager, and the cost is $15 per player. The pool has a $1,500 bankroll to wager. It could be held on races 3-7, and at least $500 per race would be wagered. If there is a winning night, it ALL goes into the last race at the discretion of the track handicapper. Talk about a shot at a sweet payoff at little cost! Now, if it all goes south and there is no return. For taking part in the “Player’s Night” promotion, you will receive a bounce back offer to be used for the next week. You get to capture data, get aquatinted with new players, and reach out to them in a way they embrace. No loud bull-horns screaming names to come up and bob for apples. There will be 5 drawings for track merchandise, and the winners will be notified by their phone app and posted on in-house monitors.