PlayersBoycott.org - The National Players Boycott of California Thoroughbred Racing. California Horse Racing Boycott - Handle Losses Exceed $100 Million
March 23, 2011
California Horse Racing Boycott - Handle Losses Exceed $100 Million - March 23, 2011

There is a very clear trend in California's handle numbers. Players are speaking with their wallets and they are saying "no" to higher takeout.

The handle numbers presented below came from the Equibase charts. Handle numbers published by Equibase in the charts reflects total handle wagered on races run at the host track (and nothing but total handle wagered on races run at the host track.) - In this case Santa Anita, Golden Gate Fields, and Tampa Bay Downs. The time period covered is from day one of each of their current 2010-2011 meets through this past Sunday March 20, 2011.

Santa Anita Park
On January 1, 2011 takeout on exotic wagers involving two wagering interests (Exacta and Daily Double) was increased to 22.68% from 20.68%. Thatís a percentage increase of 9.71% Ė giving Santa Anita one of the worst/highest exacta takeouts of any major track in North America.

On January 1, 2011 takeout on exotic wagers involving three or more wagering interests (pick3, pick4, pick6, trifecta, superfecta, and super high five) was increased to 23.68% from 20.68%. Thatís a percentage increase of 14.51%!!

How have bettors responded to these increases?

Santa Anita handle comparison last year's meet vs. this year's meet
Santa Anita handle comparison last year's meet vs. this year's meet


Explanation:
  • Column B contains handle numbers from last year's meet broken out by wager type.
  • Column C contains handle numbers from this year's meet broken out by wager type.
  • Column D shows the difference in dollars.
  • Column E shows percentage difference.



Observations:
  • Total handle this year vs. last year is off more than $77 million.
  • Exotics handle (where the takeout increase occured) is off 18.3%.
  • Total handle is off 17.7%.
  • Total purses paid out are up only 9% - a far cry from the 25% purse increase promised by proponents of the takeout increase.
  • Field size is down .28 horses per race. Increasing purses by reaching into bettors' pockets has not brought increases in field size and handle as promised by the proponents of the takeout increase.



Q. How does this impact the track's revenue picture?

Santa Anita revenue comparison last year's meet vs. this year's meet
Santa Anita revenue comparison last year's meet vs. this year's meet


Explanation:
  • Column B contains handle numbers from last year's meet broken out by wager type.
  • Column C contains takeout in dollars (the amount removed from the pools) from last year's meet broken out by wager type.
  • Column D contains handle numbers from this year's meet broken out by wager type.
  • Column E contains takeout in dollars (the amount removed from the pools) from this year's meet using the takeout rate prior to the increase broken out by wager type.
  • Column F contains handle numbers from this year's meet broken out by wager type. (Same as column D.)
  • Column G contains the "increased" takeout in dollars (the amount removed from the pools) from this year's meet using the incrementally increased takeout rate as a result of the increase broken out by wager type.
  • Column H shows the difference in revenue dollars between last year's meet and this year's meet.



Observations:
  • Total takeout removed from the pools this year vs. last year is off just over $8.2 million.
  • When increased purses are factored in (row 20 column H) total revenue this year vs. last year is off just over $10.2 million.





Golden Gate Fields
On January 1, 2011 takeout on exotic wagers involving two wagering interests (Exacta and Daily Double) was increased to 22.68% from 20.68%. Thatís a percentage increase of 9.71%!

On January 1, 2011 takeout on exotic wagers involving three or more wagering interests (pick3, pick4, pick6, trifecta, superfecta, and super high five) was increased to 23.68% from 20.68%. Thatís a percentage increase of 14.51%!!

How have bettors responded to these increases?

Golden Gate Fields handle comparison last year's meet vs. this year's meet
Golden Gate Fields handle comparison last year's meet vs. this year's meet


Explanation:
  • Column B contains handle numbers from last year's meet broken out by wager type.
  • Column C contains handle numbers from this year's meet broken out by wager type.
  • Column D shows the difference in dollars.
  • Column E shows percentage difference.



Observations:
  • Total handle this year vs. last year is off more than $23.7 million.
  • Total handle this year vs. last year is off 19%.
  • Total purses paid out this year vs. last year is up 9.5% - well short of the 25% purse increase promised by proponents of the takeout increase.
  • Field size is down .24 horses per race. Increasing purses by reaching into bettor's pockets has not brought increases in field size and handle as promised by the proponents of the takeout increase.



Q. How does this impact the track's revenue picture?

Golden Gate Fields revenue comparison last year's meet vs. this year's meet
Golden Gate Fields revenue comparison last year's meet vs. this year's meet


Explanation:
  • Column B contains handle numbers from last year's meet broken out by wager type.
  • Column C contains takeout in dollars (the amount removed from the pools) from last year's meet broken out by wager type.
  • Column D contains handle numbers from this year's meet broken out by wager type.
  • Column E contains takeout in dollars (the amount removed from the pools) from this year's meet using the takeout rate prior to the increase broken out by wager type.
  • Column F contains handle numbers from this year's meet broken out by wager type. (Same as column D.)
  • Column G contains the "increased" takeout in dollars (the amount removed from the pools) from this year's meet using the incrementally increased takeout rate as a result of the increase broken out by wager type.
  • Column H shows the difference in revenue dollars between last year's meet and this year's meet.



Observations:
  • Total takeout removed from the pools this year vs. last year is off just over $4.5 million.
  • When increased purses are factored in (row 20 column H) total revenue this year vs. last year is off just over $3.2 million.





Tampa Bay Downs
Takeout on pick3, pick4, and pick6 wagers was decreased to 18.00% from 19.00%. Thatís a percentage decrease of 5.26% Ė giving Tampa Bay Downs one of the lowest serial race wager takeouts of any track in North America.

How have bettors responded to this?

Tampa Bay Downs handle comparison last year's meet vs. this year's meet
Tampa Bay Downs handle comparison last year's meet vs. this year's meet


Explanation:
  • Column B contains handle numbers from last year's meet broken out by wager type.
  • Column C contains handle numbers from this year's meet broken out by wager type.
  • Column D shows the difference in dollars.
  • Column E shows percentage difference.



Observations:
  • Total handle this year vs. last year is up more than $11.7 million.
  • Pick3 handle this year vs. last year is up 14.0%.
  • Pick4 handle this year vs. last year is up 40.2%!
  • Pick6 handle this year vs. last year is up 21.0%!
  • Handle on the serial race bets (where takeout was reduced) was up sharply compared to handle on all other bet types (where takeout remained the same.)
  • Total handle is up 4.2%.
  • Average purse per race was up 3.9% - This was accomplished with a takeout reduction (and without alienating the customer base as was the case in California.)
  • Field size is up .19 horses per race.



Q. How does this impact the track's revenue picture?

Tampa Bay Downs revenue comparison last year's meet vs. this year's meet
Tampa Bay Downs revenue comparison last year's meet vs. this year's meet


Explanation:
  • Column B contains handle numbers from last year's meet broken out by wager type.
  • Column C contains takeout in dollars (the amount removed from the pools) from last year's meet broken out by wager type.
  • Column D contains handle numbers from this year's meet broken out by wager type.
  • Column E contains takeout in dollars (the amount removed from the pools) from this year's meet broken out by wager type.
  • Column F contains the difference in takeout dollars this year's meet vs. last year's meet broken out by wager type.
  • Column G contains the percentage change broken out by wager type.



Observations:
  • The largest percentage change (growth) in total takeout removed from the pools this year vs. last year occured in the pick4 pools (where takeout was reduced.)
  • Total takeout removed from the pools this year vs. last year is up just over $2.3 million.
  • Increases in purses, field size, and total revenue are possible when done in the right way using strategies designed to win customer business instead of strategies (California) that drive customer business away.





In Closing
Here we are, barely three months in after the takeout increase. The trend is crystal clear.

All sources handle on California's two thoroughbred tracks is off just over $100 million.

This a direct result of the takeout increase.

At some point in every crisis, it no longer matters who is right and who is wrong.

What matters is fixing the problem.

The time has come for action.

The action called for by common sense would be for leadership at Santa Anita, Hollywood Park, Golden Gate Fields, The Del Mar Turf Club, the TOC, the CTT, and California's bettors to join together and go before the Commissioners of the CHRB and ask that the takeout increase be rescinded.

That would be a good first step - one that can't happen quickly enough.

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