Release the Wagering Kraken

The newest bitch from the complaint department is that fantasy leagues are actually betting. Well, here is some breaking news from the get your head out of the sand division. – Yes it is, and the interest from fans is wide open throttle. According to the New York Times, we need to rein in this heinous activity and send in the “no more fun police.” – Congress exempted this when they outlawed Internet gambling in 2006. In their infinite wisdom, they missed the boat once again. We don’t need to rein in ventures like this, we need to regulate, tax, create jobs, and turn this puppy loose. What do we have to loose ?

Sports as a whole has reinvented itself more than old athletes turned spokesmen for Viagra, Depends, and AARP infomercials. “Fantasy sports have been around for years. For most of their existence, groups of friends played against each other over the course of several months. In fantasy sports, each player assembles a hypothetical team of athletes. Points are calculated based on how those athletes do in actual games. Now companies like FanDuel and DraftKings are encouraging people to play daily and weekly fantasy games in which they compete against dozens or hundreds of strangers on the Internet.”

Players pay entry fees ranging from 25 cents to several thousand dollars to win awards that go from a few dollars to more than $1 million. The most a player can lose is the entry fee; the player whose athletes collect the most points, based on the athletes’ performance, wins the top prize. There are also lesser payoffs, according to the New York Times. Who cares ? – Did anyone complain when Jimmy the Greek pulled sports betting from back alleys and smoke filled bars into the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas with his weekly prognostications on the original CBS sports show ? – Nope.

They came out swinging and aggressively advertised. I think in Business 101 we call that the American Way. – You shouldn’t cry for students at X-Y-Z University when they take part. If they had this much interest, don’t you think they would have made a bet or two with a local book maker ? – “The allure of profits from gambling clouds otherwise rational minds. Giving people more ways to bet on the outcomes of sports is sure to threaten the integrity of sports and create more gambling addicts, especially among young people who are already more likely to engage in risky behaviors, according to the New York Times. – Fan participation is at a zenith and why should we slow it down to 1965 again ?

Now how does this effect horse racing ? – It could if we’re not careful, the powers-that-be may sit on their brains and make rash decisions, the no-fun-police will be back quickly. The sport of kings needs every boost it can get.

If you would like to have some fun, and embrace the new ways. Take a look at this site for more fun than the law allows.

I was asked a few questions from a marketing gent at our track on how to make the fan experience bigger and better. – I hesitated at first, but then let it roll off my tongue like thunder. – ” How about a large covered tent with mega-screen TV’s; plenty of great sports bar grub; and easy wagering access with roving clerks and plenty of self-bet machines. Have a group wager where folks could buy a share, and take part in the big day. At River Downs long ago we called it ” The Big Ticket” and it was popular for fans to get in on the pick-four bonanza for a $10 share. Make it loud and fun, full of energy and screens showing the ultra-popular college football on one end of the make-shift facility. There could be food trucks showcasing new and exotic fare, micro-brew areas, and a place where new fans could venture up to a table and ask questions and receive some good one-on-one handicapping help without feeling left out. – This was the idea of having it in a covered large tent area in the parking lots. Easy access, plenty of ideas for an outside zone of fun kiosks, and you could sign up new members for your loyalty card. You could segment them into the racing fan who came to a large event, and this would allow for to send bounce back offers and targeted offers that would entice them to check out the entire facility.” – After 10 minutes of talking myself into frenzy, he looked at me with dull uninterested eyes. – Hell, I could have been handicapping Keeneland or Santa Anita.

Long story short, we are allowing old men and women in Congress to make decisions for us. They are elected officials, and I sure hope sites like FanDuel and DraftKings push the envelope as it may eventually open up a new way of thinking. – Fortune favors the bold, and I wish them good vibes and great energy. – Now tell me. Would you like to see that mega-oversized-wagering area at your local ball park, football stadium, or off site location where you could wager and watch your favorite teams in a legal environment ? – Give the teams a piece, let them tax and regulate the venture. Let’s create more jobs, and get fans hyped into a frenzy like soccer style singing and chanting for your favorite teams. Let’s open the flood gates and see what happens. What do we have to lose ?