03/30/2012 4:33PM

Letters to the Editor April 1


More simulcasts, not exchange bets, are people's choice

There has been a lot of talk and ink about the new proposed exchange wagering that has been forecast in the future of California through the British company Betfair (the owner of TVG). As a veteran horse player for more than 40 years in the state, I do not see this as a windfall for the state or, for that matter, a significant new option for horseplayers.

This exchange wagering - which allows customers to post odds and accept wagers on whether a horse will win or lose a race - as I see it, is catering to a big player, and you need to find a player who is willing to take the other side of the wager.

This is not what the everyday player is looking for to expand this sport, especially in California. The way I see it (and I feel I have the support of the many frequent horseplayers I see each week), what we need in the state of California is an unlimited simulcasting menu at our simulcast locations. It is silly each week to get Oaklawn one day and not the next or only races 3-9 from Aqueduct or races 8-10 from Fair Grounds.

Presently the state of California is limited in the number simulcasts brought in from the United States (but, oddly, we can have anything we want from Canada -- Woodbine, etc.). The state would generate a larger amount of revenue from allowing unlimited simulcasts, as most states do.

Even if this exchange wagering is made legal in California, it's not what most of the public wants. At least from what I hear, we want additional races simulcast to our state.

Robert D Brown - Lakewood, Calif.

Warm-up viewing a crucial element

As a longtime simulcast bettor, I find that certain tracks invite my play, while others discourage it. I don't make my betting decisions entirely on the weight of the appearance of horses as they gallop before a race, but simply put, if I don't see the prerace gallop, I am less likely, long-term, to place wagers at the track in question. Furthermore, I know many other bettors place at least some weight on their ability to see horses warming up before a race.

So, in short, the problem is that some tracks barely give you a shot of the horse in the post parade, let alone a fair viewing of the entrants as they head postward.

My industry-wide advice: Instead of inventing new promotions, racetracks should emulate those that provide good views of prerace action. It can only help the handle. If there is a gold standard, then the Southern California tracks are it. Wake up, management at Laurel, Turfway, and other tracks that waste my valuable prerace minutes with full-screen shots of exacta prices. Get with the program. It's costing you money.

Rob Smoke - Boulder, Colo.