I Just Dropped In ….

by Ed Meyer

posted on August 22, 2016 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Horse Racing, WinningPonies.com | No Comments >>


I just dropped in to see what condition my condition was in.” – Kenny Rogers and the First Edition may have been on to something good. – Racing should take this little journey from time-to-time to check out what is right and what needs to change. – With this song playing in my noggin I took an introspective trip to the land of Thoroughbred racing and watched from the outside in.


I was reading this morning in the Paulick Report about a mutual clerk betting out of their cash box at Saratoga. – The clerk came up $11,700 according to the story. This was during a four hour period, and the clerk is in jail with a $2,500 bond. – Long ago clerks were allowed to have Racing Form’s and programs at their windows. They would read, wager, and sometimes shut out patrons. This little bit of money was estimated at 30% of the on-track money back in the day. I know a track that started out with employees not being allowed to wager on races. – When the end of year report came back 25% down with on-track handle, the management came up with a new idea. “Hey, let’s allow the clerks to wager. We don’t want to keep them from enjoying the action, and we sure love the handle.” – Clerks that like to bet have wagered out of their box from time to time. They are responsible for shortages, and they must be reconciled before being allowed to work again. There is a payback time table set in motion before the authorities were brought in. – For a clerk to get nailed by happen-stance is the luckiest move on the planet. Sounds like there must have been plenty of problems in the past prior to this bad luck run. – Of the clerks that work at the track, 95% have no problem with having their hand in the cash drawer. Most are union jobs and they pay pretty well. There are tips from lucky patrons and the atmosphere is electric.

I don’t know if this will work, but how about having a pre-work window open for clerks ? – Allow them free access to programs, etc. They can make their wagers before heading to their jobs and there will be no more programs allowed at the windows. – Please allow them to have a scratch-sheet with all of the tracks and entries as they have helped me a thousand times over the years. – Have a new policy of one warning for betting at the windows, and the next sends you walking. – The handle still rolls in, and the clerks still get to wager. Also, do not allow cell phones at the terminals as players call their pal and make a wager or three. I know this to be the truth as I have a few good buddies I can call. – If I’m willing to forget about my private line to wagering, I must see a problem with clerks getting calls and texts to bet Chewy Slew in the 7th. – A little common sense always works, and have that private break room with a couple of self-bet terminals and the clerks can make a wager or three for a friend on their break and this may cut back on some problems. – Just a thought…


Casinos were the cure-all remedy to what faces racing. – There are some casino operations who embrace racing and advertise and promote the sport. They are doing well and love the new operational model. – Then there are others. They couldn’t care less about racing, and see it as a bad pill they have to swallow. But here’s the rub. – For these entities that run live racing meets and have casino operations, has one person ever brought up their best months of the year ? – Yep, you guessed it. The best months of the year are when racing is taking place. Why wouldn’t you try and make your facility a complete destination place ? – Okay, keep your bevy of marketing personnel and employ a person or team of folks who work with the casino side on creating new racing fans from the slot players and vice versa ? – I know the slots yield a good profit and racing is a different revenue source. Why not try and open the place up with some new thinking ? – Every dollar that comes in is important, and every player that walks in the doors deserves a person they can communicate with. – From my experience, patrons that feel they have no voice will eventually stop speaking and there is the beginning of the end. – When you make one segment of your guests feel less important it won’t be long before they go somewhere else or find something new to do with their discretionary dollar.  – Things don’t have to be separate, and if you embrace the facility as a whole destination opportunity you may start making strides. – The days of one movie playing at a mega-complex are over. If you offer a selection with many choices this will become your place to spend your entertainment dollar. – Be careful racing entities beginning this new transition. Keep your eye on the ball and remember you have an established wagering attendance. This should be used to promote both sides and make your new facility a complete destination. Good service, open communication, and don’t forget what brought people to the track in the first place.


Both stories brought me to one central thought. – It just takes common sense. Treat your employees with respect and keep safeguards in place. This protects the public, your employees from making bad decisions, and the company. – The second is also about common sense. – Tracks were purchased, re-designed and changed for one reason. Your grandpa’s track had a license to gamble and there was a population of gamblers. They just thought they’d come in and change a few things or maybe give it a whole new face lift. Doing the right thing never goes out of style and doing right by the players is paramount for any business who wants to hang around for awhile. – If only one person reads this I hope it is a person who wants the game to survive. Don’t assume and get involved. Don’t put it off as it matters more than ever to take care of business.