09/20/2009 4:48PM

To exchange or not?


Mike writes, "Here's something you maybe could sound off on. I'd love to hear your opinion on betting exchanges."

Rule No. 1 for any business: The customer is always right.
Rule No. 2: The customer is never wrong.
The rules most often violated by racetracks: see No. 1 and No. 2.
The simple fact is that horseplayers have spoken, and loudly. Betfair's record in the UK proves that betting exchanges are wildly popular, and the stagnant U.S. horse wagering menu is in dire need of something new, exciting and interesting.
Instead of focusing on the challenges our system would face in incorporatng betting exchanges, industry leaders need to have the foresight and proactivity to figure out a way to make it happen. Plainly stated, they need to listen to their customers.
Horse racing has lost an absurd percentage of gambling market share to casinos. Now exchange betting gives the sport a potential gift that could at least partially reverse that exodus.
Figure out a way to make it work for the long-term best interests of everyone involved. It isn't whether racing can afford to embrace the technology. They can't afford not to.

joe More than 1 year ago
Betting exchanges are the best way to go, What one track like nyra should do is implement it at their track and see the increase in betting. You will still have interstate wagering and pari mutal betting etc. How it works, say there is a race, rachel alexandra is one of the horse, I dont think she can win so I lay her at 2/1 I bet 400 at that, another punter sees that she is 2/1 and loves her to win, he can bet 200 against my 400, her best price at track is 1/1, it is a win win situation, I can lay the horse just like a bookie, there is a fee charged for the transaction which goes to the host. It will bring in a whole lot more revenue than slots and bring a whole new generation into the horse racing game.
Dillweed More than 1 year ago
The popularity of horse betting in the US would explode if we legalized betting exchanges. Unfortunately, Churchill Downs, the NTRA, and the central Kentucky power brokers are against it. They think slots, which don't add a cent to the betting pools nor help the popularity of horse racing, are the answer. Think this sport needs new leadership?
Andy More than 1 year ago
Betting exchanges are one of the few real answers for the serious horse player. The odds against us are incredible and only those of us who love the game are still in it. However, our patience is being sorely tested. I understand the concern regarding insider information and possible fixing of horses to not run on given days. This is a problem in any case, and must be addressed, however, to ignore this streamlined, low cost, low takeout form of gambling is like taking a stand against E-bay because of the possible fraudelant activities it attracts. To do so is to ignore the possible handle increase that could insue from such a favorable betting propisition.
mpd More than 1 year ago
Amen. As a Canadian, I am lucky enough to be allowed to bet through Betfair on US racing. I can assure you i will never bet with the tote again. Since May 4, my payouts are 22% higher on avg than tote payoffs. And the ability to 'bet against' (lay) horses you don't like by setting your own odds is also fantastic. There must be a way for the US to make this work, and to benefit the tracks and horsemen too.
Guy More than 1 year ago
Betfair are NOT freeloaders. They give back a % to the industry.
C More than 1 year ago
Be very careful what you wish for because you might just get it (I'm tempted to say something about the health care debate, but I won't). Michael Schweizer is absolutely right. Lay bets open the door for all kinds of fraud. They've had to deal with that in Europe (see Kieren Fallon). Also, I believe these exchanges make their money by taking a percentage of winning bets. That's not the same as a takeout in a parimutuel pool. Most bettors don't even understand pari-mutuel wagering... you think they're going to shop around for odds? No thanks.
Paul More than 1 year ago
What is a betting exchange?
Mathieu More than 1 year ago
Ok, Randy, you have me intrigued. I am a savvy racetracker but admittedly know next to nothing on how the exchanges actually work. Can you provide a lucid explaination of it's operation and what your top 3 advantages are over the current system? Also, how is the takeout handled and will this diminish the bottom line amount of dollars going to the respective tracks, states, and horsemen, etc? If it does, won't this weaken the viability of Santa Anita continuing as racetrack when developing the real estate could bring in more cash? Don't get me wrong, I'm all for leveling out the current inequities built against the player but not at the cost of debilitating the game itself. I just need to find out more about your proposal.
ARCstats More than 1 year ago
And what country do you folks live in? We are governed by a group of knuckleheads who have outlawed Internet gambling, you have a completely disfunctional group of racing executives and state boards, and you think you're going to see exchange betting established? Peace in the Middle East will come sooner. Look, no one wants exchange betting in the USA more than I do (especially for sports betting), but you're all wasting your time even discussing it. It's not happening in your lifetime with the current historical government caveman thinking regarding the approval of any form of gambling whose primary benifactor is someone other than them.
Barry Meadow More than 1 year ago
Betting exchanges will completely obliterate handle from pari-mutuel win bets, once players catch on to how much better a deal they are--even if the exchange tacks on, say, an extra 5% above the regular commission (2-5%) that would go directly to tracks and horsemen. Betfair has already proven how its model works for all players--both those who like a certain horse and those who don't. The pari-mutuel system is outdated, and the ever-increasing takeouts ensure that the game will continue to sink. Even though most betting would still remain pari-mutuel (exactas, pick 3's, place bets, etc.), exchanges offer at least some hope for a resurgence.
Jason More than 1 year ago
First, the comments directed at the B.C. being at Santa Anita two years in a row are ludicrous. Can people not remember that when the B.C. execs needed a decision, the N.Y. tracks didn't know they would be able to even stay in business at the time. In addition, the B.C. people couldn't get a firm commitment from any major track so having Santa host two years in a row was a fallback position AT THE TIME. Now, on to betting exchanges. A worse idea could never be instituted. I'm a very wise businessman. I buy claimers constantly at many racetracks. I win tons of races, but seem to lose millions in the process. Nobody can figure out why I'm o.k. with losing so much. Is it ego? Nope. I get the info from my inside guys(not just trainers, but the stable employees, which horses are doing well and those that are not). I have accounts with betting exchanges. Many different names used, all employees of mine. I use the inside info to make vast fortunes that can never be traced to me due to using different exchanges and different accounts. Thank goodness for fools who don't realize this has happened and still happens constantly. Makes guys like me rich.
Riposte More than 1 year ago
"Proactivity"? Clang!
clockerbob More than 1 year ago
In a recent business article, two cities in Calif., during the current prolong recession, had shown increases in housing value La Jolla and Beverly Hills Neither city has a location to bet the horses. Marge Everret rules!
micheal schweizer More than 1 year ago
The obvious reason to avoid such a system is that to give someone the option to bet something will not happen, gives an easy way to cheat to those individuals(jockeys, trainers, seedy gamblers) who would do such a thing. In a game that is constantly bombarded with controversy, why give another reason to believe the odds are stacked. the costumer may want this, but the industry does not need it.
Laura More than 1 year ago
Unfortunately Randy, like the financial giants, the racing execs and the group of rich old white guys who control racing (most likely one and the same) live in their own fantasy world and are totally out of touch with the average consumer. Instead of sitting in their offices and waiting for the Marketing Dept. to come up with new ideas to alienate the horseplayers, the powers that be should get off their high horse, out of the mansion and posh offices, and spend several weekdays and weekends mingling with the common folk at the tracks – the grandstand, not the Clubhouse. Even better, let them make do with a small bankroll that has to last throughout the day for both betting and any food/drinks. Of course, that will never happen, but in a perfect world….
August West More than 1 year ago
I've been using a exchange for sports betting for years (Matchbook). It is great, and once you get the hang of it, you'll never want to play parimutuel again.
woodridgephil More than 1 year ago
randy just exactly do betting exchanges work . in the uk.
MMiner More than 1 year ago
Amen brother! Exchanges and a lower takeout may give our sport the boost it needs.
bellaire More than 1 year ago
gee nrandy; i keep reading your blog, but nobody seems to be posting to it. personally i think you are basically on top of the commentators that have been on t v . keep up the good work. ronski
Big Z More than 1 year ago
Put me down for being in favor of betting exchanges. There are lots of horses I would like to bet against, while not knowing who to pick to beat them. I just know "this" horse is not going to win and am willing to take much lower odds on a proposition like that.
pace par More than 1 year ago
are you going to be releasing figures for any new circuits soon? indiana tracks, beulah, presque isle? or perhaps filling in some of the missing distances at tracks that already have figures like 1m 40y at tampa, 1 1/16 at emerald, a lot of the routes at finger lakes?? keep up the good work!!
SpartanTom More than 1 year ago
Dear Randy, I am unfamiliar with betting exchanges, could you briefly describe how they work and how they benefit customers (this may become self-evident). Also, would these ventures be "saddled" with unreasonable regulatory requirements that would also affect customers? Does the fact that there are different "tax" structures for racing venues have any bearing on the operation of betting exchanges?
eddie More than 1 year ago
Well said. Lets get Betfair involved in assigning a fair and equitable percentage of each wager to the racetracks and lets roll. However, if they are going to freeload like they do in Britain, forget it.
tomath2o More than 1 year ago
YES! You are absolutely right, betting exchanges are an excellent idea, and can spur renewed interest in US racing from a betting standpoint. Betfair is willing to spend to get in the mix too, as evidenced by their purchase of TVG.
Tom D. More than 1 year ago
Have you heard any buzz about this years breeders cup? Me neither. Where I go to wager on horse racing everyone is of the same opinion. Santa Anita should not have it two years in a row. Know one could have forseen the Rachel Alexandria story but! You blew it!Get rid of the poly! East coast betters hate it. The handle will reflect it again this year.