Many players have told us they are already Boycotting.
We would like to THANK YOU for your support. Your willingness to take a stand for what you believe in
is absolutely showing itself in the handle numbers.
On Jan 01, 2011 California Takeout on Exotic Wagers involving 2 or more betting interests (EXA, DD) Increased by 9.7% to 22.68% - giving California one of the highest
exacta takeout rates in North America.
On Jan 01, 2011 California Takeout on Exotic Wagers involving 3 or betting interests (TRI, SUPER, Pick3, Pick4, Pick6, Super High 5) Increased by 14.51% to 23.68%.
How YOU can support the boycott:
For many players supporting the boycott means not betting California thoroughbred races at all (not even looking at California past performances.)
If everyone does this they would have no choice but to start listening to players (and lower the takeout) immediately.
For many players this means shifting play to thoroughbred tracks outside of California... tracks that are trying to earn player business
by offering better deals/reduced takeout on selected wager types.
For others it means betting WIN PLACE SHOW only and boycotting exotic wagers (where the takeout has been increased.)
For some players it means betting offshore (where their money doesn't go into the pools.)
For others it simply means scaling back and betting less overall on California thoroughbred races than you otherwise would have.
For a few it means volunteering some free time, donating money, or simply telling other players about the Boycott effort.
We realize not all players are equal in what they are willing to do to make positive change happen. However, collectively, your
participation in the CALIFORNIA HORSE RACING BOYCOTT (each of you in your own way) will help shine a
very public spotlight on the actions of the CHRB and TOC and help bring about much needed change.
Q. Who is behind the boycott effort?
A. Players who believe "enough is enough" who are willing to stand up for what they believe in.
The question isn't: "Do you support a boycott?" The question really is: "Do you support raising takeout as being a smart business move
for the sport of horseracing?" It's not about a boycott, it's about pointing out to the industry that raising takeout is driving the
business into the ground.
We want to emphasize that the purpose of the Players’ Boycott isn’t to punish or destroy racing in California. Just the opposite is true.
We are boycotting to create a better tomorrow.
We believe the actions of racing’s decision makers have been destroying racing in California, and elsewhere, for years.
If you take all sources handle today in 2010, and adjust it for inflation, and then compare it to all sources handle in 2003, you will notice that handle today is approximately half of what it was just seven years ago in 2003.
By supporting the CALIFORNIA HORSE RACING BOYCOTT effort, you can help us put a stop to this trend.
Note: We are not calling for a players' boycott of Cal Expo. Cal Expo recently said "no" to increased harness takeout and recently reduced their takeout on selected wagers.
Q. Why California?
A. The fact that other states have takeout even higher than California’s new 23.68 percent takeout on trifectas is irrelevant.
California is where the CHRB ignored the facts related to the Los Al takeout increase.
When the CHRB voted the Los Al takeout increase in, they used revenue projections that said handle would be unaffected by the takeout increase.
HANA testified at the January, 2010 CHRB meeting and told the Commissioners of the CHRB that handle at Los Al would be adversely impacted by a takeout increase.
During the 6 month period immediately following the Los Al takeout increase, year over year on track handle at Los Al was down more than 27%. Concrete evidence to substantiate that fact was presented to the CHRB and was made part of the CHRB's July, 2010 meeting package. Yet the CHRB voted unanimously to EXTEND the Los Al takeout increase.
Shortly after that, California track operators, the TOC, and the head of the CHRB lobbied the California legislature for a thoroughbred takeout increase - again over player objections.
California is where the Legislature ignored the voice of the player and passed that takeout increase. California is where the Governor ignored the voice of the player and signed Senate Bill 1072 into law.
California is where officers of the state entrusted by the state with protecting the wagering public made the following comments after they enacted the takeout increase:
CHRB Commissioner David Israel:
Quote From The Official CHRB News Release Summary 9-23-2010 CHRB Meeting:
“People often say we are competing with the casinos. I think that’s shortsighted and wrong. We’re not competing with casinos. We’re in the entertainment business. We’re competing with the Dodgers and the Giants and the Angels and the Lakers and we’re putting on a show..."
CHRB Commissioner Keith Brackpool:
Quote From The Official CHRB News Release Summary 9-23-2010 CHRB Meeting:
Midway through the meeting, Chairman Brackpool received a text message from the Office of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger indicating that the governor
had signed two bills - SB 1072 and AB 2414 - that the Board and industry supported as a means to substantially increase purses and potentially provide a new wagering option for bettors subject to agreement by the major racing interests and a sunset provision.
"This legislation adjusts the takeout on exotic wagers making it comparable with other major racing states and providing for purse increases of as
much as 20 to 30 percent in California," explained the chairman. "I think this is the biggest possible boost we could do for the sport right now -
getting the purses levels up, particularly in the lower races."
Players attending the 9-23-2010 CHRB Meeting reported that horsemen and track management attending the meeting gave Brackpool a standing ovation after he made that announcement.
I hate to use the word boycott, but in my opinion California racing no longer deserves one penny of my business.
I have to put the question out there to other players:
Hasn't the time come for an organized Players’ Boycott of California Thoroughbred Racing?
We ask you to consider carefully the idea that every handle dollar spent on California thoroughbred racing is a vote in support of higher takeout
and a vote to support the mistaken belief expressed by the CHRB and the TOC that the customer is irrelevant.
You have a choice when it comes to where you spend your money.
Every handle dollar not bet on the California thoroughbred racing product is a vote for change and a vote to send a very clear message to the CHRB and the TOC:
Message to Racing Industry: Who Pays Your Salary?
This video by Larry Winget (linked to with Winget's permission) should be required viewing for
anyone and everyone bestowed with decision making authority in the racing industry.
In our opinion, Winget conveys the message perfectly.
California Racing - Key Areas Where Change Is Needed Most:
Takeout - Raising takeout against player objections isn't the answer. Takeout has an optimal pricing point that
generates max revenue for tracks and purses. Industry studies and real world case history clearly indicates the optimum
pricing point is much lower than current takeout levels.
Racing's decision makers need to be lowering takeout instead of raising it
in their attempt to maximize revenue.
We need to change the way California Racing does business.
Rebates - The TOC (Thoroughbred Owners of California) is the organization responsible for
California's ADW Retention Cap, a state law making it impossible for California residents to obtain
rebates (which are readily available to players who live in other states.)
Section 19604 of the Business and Professions Code states:
"(5) "Contractual compensation" means the amount paid to an ADW
provider from advance deposit wagers originating in this state.
Contractual compensation includes, but is not limited to, hub fee
payments, and may include host fee payments, if any, for out-of-state
and out-of-country races. Contractual compensation is subject to the
(A) Excluding contractual compensation for host fee payments,
contractual compensation shall not exceed 6.5 percent of the amount
Translated into plain English, the above paragraphs mean that California tracks get to draw a big circle around each track, and everybody unfortunate enough to be living inside the circle is subject to a 93.5 percent wagering tax!
The law defines the circle as the entire state of California and the "tax" is 93.5 cents out of every $1.00 wagered by a California resident with an ADW. (The ADW gets to keep 6.5% of its California handle and has to fork over the rest to the tracks and horsemen.)
The effect is that ADWs wanting to innovate and compete for your business can not possibly treat you like they do the residents of other states because they can only keep 6.5 cents out of every wagering dollar bet by the California resident. After paying monthly operating expenses there is not enough room margin-wise to rebate anything back to you the California customer.
The intent behind the statute is a money grab.
But instead of betting into the parimutuel pools (and paying full takeout) California's serious price sensitive players have moved much of their
handle out of state (and offshore) where they can and do get rebates.
Section 19604 needs to be changed to give California's large volume players a reason to return their handle dollars to the
parimutuel pools. Until that happens, California players will continue wagering offshore and outside of California's parimutuel pools where their handle dolllars bring no benefit whatsoever to California's tracks
Note: A conservative estimate is that total North American offshore thoroughbred handle runs into the
billions of dollars each year.
The Complete and Total Disregard for the player by the Tracks, The CHRB and the TOC must come to an end.