Did You Boycott ?

The hullaballoo of boycotting Keeneland was the topic of the fall. There’s always going to be a subject up for a vote or an issue being talked about. – According to the Paulick Report:

The Horseplayers Association of North America (HANA) and Playersboycott.org have jointly announced that a horseplayer boycott of Keeneland is underway, citing an increase in takeout despite a revenue windfall from Historical Racing machines located at The Red Mile as reasons for the boycott. “Keeneland decided to hit horseplayers with a takeout increase,” HANA President and Playersboycott.org spokesman Jeff Platt said. “Keeneland claims they are going to use money raised by the takeout increase to boost purses. But higher takeout in the name of bigger purses has been tried before and it has failed, big time.”

Did you take part? – Is this an agenda you subscribe? – Will this change the trend? – Did I take part in the boycott? – The answer to all of the above for this horseplayer is simple – No. – I believe too much tossed around power puts the stranglehold on the tracks. I guess it works in some markets as mentioned in the 2011 article:

Platt cited past takeout increases as examples:

“For the first 6 months immediately following the takeout increase at Los Alamitos in 2010 on-track handle was down 27%.

Horseplayers boycotted Santa Anita and Golden Gate in the early months of 2011 as a result of takeout increases there. Instead of bigger purses, the result was purse cuts and layoffs. In October 2011 the local paper in Arcadia, CA where Santa Anita is located reported Santa Anita was cutting one-third of its staff.

Churchill had a takeout increase for their spring 2014 meet. Handle fell by 25% outside of the Derby and Maggi Moss reported on her Twitter account that Churchill had quietly announced a 20% purse cut for their fall 2014 meet. – I guess they feel happy they put the hurt on the sport they love. – Do you know how long it takes to make a comeback from a meet like this? – Sometimes never.

Now, that’s all fine and good if you like to climb up on your soap box and crow loudly. – How about the cutting of jobs and layoffs people had to endure? – It looks like numbers on paper, but have you ever watched someone walk to their car after being handed a box and cleaned out their desk for the many years of service they provided? – In my humble gambler’s opinion when you have outside interests directing or trying to influence your business plans. The trouble has just begun. – Trust me. The tracks know good and well what a takeout increase does to business. Do you think they are trying to put the choke hold on themselves? – Sometimes there are moves to stay afloat and be competitive. – When all you can see is your win bet paying $8.40 instead of $8.60 you are looking at the short sided model.

Beginning Friday, October 6, 2017: Takeout for WIN-PLACE-SHOW wagers at Keeneland will be 17.50%. (An increase of 9.375% vs. last meet’s takeout rate of 16.00%.) Takeout for all EXOTIC wagers at Keeneland except the pick5 will be 22.00%. (An increase of 15.79% vs. last meet’s takeout rate of 19.00%.) ?

HANA and Playersboycott.org are asking horseplayers to consider the idea that horseplayers are consumers and that every handle dollar bet at Keeneland is a vote for higher takeout everywhere. HANA and Playersboycott.org are asking horseplayers to send a clear message by not betting one track, Keeneland, for one month, October 2017. That’s it. – “Join us. Together we can convince Keeneland to reverse their decision.” – According to the Paulick Report article.

After hearing this did you stop playing? – I love Keeneland and wait with baited breath to see the “Brigadoon” of racing open the gates and conduct racing. – I didn’t stop playing. Keeneland didn’t shut the doors and after reading a statement from the Keeneland President it became clear that they were going to stand behind the decision. – Keeneland president and CEO Bill Thomasson issued the following statement: “Keeneland, since its inception in 1936, has operated toward a singular mission to invest all profits above what is necessary to operate our company back into the industry to benefit all who are part of it.  We have never wavered from our founding principles, and we will never do so.  This price increase, the first in decades, keeps us within the five lowest blended rates of all major U.S. racetracks and is necessary to continue to fulfill our mission. Keeneland’s mission stands for fan development, safety, and welfare initiatives, developing racing across the world and delivering the highest quality and most competitive racing product to our horsemen and fans.

It has been a month, and the numbers have been argued back and forth and some even believe there were small increases in handle. – I’ll never just follow the words and dictate to any organization to do something to damage business at any track. – ” We’re just not going to bet the signal for one month.” – Well, that’s all they ran and if there were any questions about handle and purses prior. Do you really think Keeneland is just going to back off and say “thank you, sir, may I have another.”  – Open dialogue, trying to work with the track, and encouraging players to get behind a track may have been better served. But what do I know? I’m only a member and more importantly a player.

As I close I’ll give you a little glimpse of what I was faced with. – I was betting with a “specialty tier” ADW and was getting rebates that would choke an elephant. – After realizing I was getting the monies that would have been funneled to the tracks or they would have received a piece of my handle. – I stopped and went back to my old ADW as they benefit the tracks and purses. It was a small move but a big financial decision that was hurting my wallet. – But that’s a decision this player had to make to support the game I love.

Before joining the masses. – Be sure to know all the rules and don’t just take part because you think you’ll make a track to benefit your agenda of the moment. – Let’s see if Keeneland drops the takeout rates for next meet. – I have trusted the little slice of Heaven they have always provided, and far be it from me to try and hurt the track I support. There are a million other ways to have your voice heard but taking on a track’s plans for increasing business is not on the agenda.