HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – Dave Basler sees table tennis betting in Asia and envisions the sport being replaced by horse racing in the growing American sports books.
“We can fill that void so many times a day that they don’t have to play ping pong from China or cricket from Australia – things that people don’t know about,” said Basler, chief executive officer of the Ohio HBPA, said Thursday during a morning session of the National HBPA Conference at Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort. “That’s not only appealing to sportsbooks, but also attractive to riders and racetracks for the opportunity to increase our revenue.”
Eric Hamelback, CEO of the National Association of Benevolence & Protection of Horsemen, at its 2018 conference warned riders that sports betting is imminent and the racing industry needs to prepare. Soon after, the US Supreme Court issued an injunction banning sports betting. Thirty states have now passed such legislation, including Arkansas.
Now, he says, the US racing industry must turn its attention to the implementation of fixed odds. That’s different from the pari-mutuel industry that is currently a mainstay of American horse racing, while fixed-odds sports betting allows players to lock in prices ahead of an event.
“It’s here, it’s with us,” Hamelback said. “Now we need to really move and pivot and focus on how to deal with it.”
The board also includes Louisiana HBPA executive Ed Fenasci. Sports betting started in Louisiana last fall, with an online component starting in January. Basler’s home state of Ohio is scheduled to start betting on sports on January 1, 2023 after passing legislation allowing it in December.
“Paris-mutuel betting won’t be in the sportsbook,” says Basler. “Fixed odds bets will be fine. So we needed to leverage that ability to attract customers and showcase our products in front of millions and millions of potential new fans.”
Fenasci says sportsbooks have the potential to be more creative than pari-mutuel bets, including pars bets.
“Who knows what will become popular bets, right?” he say. “Two grays will win today at the Fair Grounds. This trainer will win one race and this jockey will win two races. You could marry a hockey game with a Thursday race at Fair Grounds and marry a college football betting game on LSU.
“This is the future of horse racing betting in the United States. Not this year, five years from now. This sports betting model has competed very well with other forms of play. The parimutuel model has been lost for the past 30 years. It is not the test of time as other forms of gameplay emerge and capture the attention of the customer base. “
Fenasci says online betting apps with sportsbooks are “the type of interaction that will appeal to 20 to 30 year olds… We want a place on these new e-commerce sites. We want the horse races there to be prominently displayed to people who may not have had the opportunity to consume that product in the past.”
Basler said fixed odds can make “a race that is not goalable now into a race that can be bet.”
“There was a qualifying race with six horses and a 3-5 shot in it,” he said. “There’s a good chance the bookie will remove the 3-5 shot from the pool entirely and price everyone else as if the horse wasn’t in the race. There are many things that we cannot afford in parimutuel pools that fixed odds can provide and can enhance our product. ”
Former Ladbrokes chief executive Richard Ames is the CEO of UK-based Sports Information Services and chairman of subsidiary SIS Content Services Inc. in the United States, both provide production and content services to the betting industry. He said the Australian race had gone from dominating to a decade later seeing “probably 55.60%” bets through fixed odds.
“We know consumers like this idea if they bet 6-1, that’s what they get,” he said.
Executive director Michele Fischer, an industry consultant who spent many years with major betting company Sportech Racing and is now executive vice president of SIS in the US, said some riders were surprised. learn that races in the US have been featured in sports books abroad. . While the Stronach Group-owned GWS is the largest US content exporter, she said SIS is the world’s largest distributor of equestrian content. However, it is relatively new to the US market.
SIS currently distributes on a 24-hour cycle more than 30,000 horse races and 38,000 greyhound races each year at 118 racetracks in 16 countries.
“Sports books want a lot of content,” says Ames. “They want to have access to thousands of races.”
He said there are different models of how racecourses and riders are compensated for having their races in the sportsbooks, including a flat fee, revenue sharing or receiving a percentage of the proceeds. from betting.
“Why should we consider this?” Fischer asked eloquently. “Equestrian racing has had a great year in terms of riders in 2021, the highest level since 2009. In some states, we have a fake comfort. The wallet is very high – you look at Kentucky with the HHR (historical horse racing) exploding there. It is working fine in Virginia. But when you look at the big picture across America, the simple answer is that horse racing is not self-sufficient. We are using the alternative game to support our wallet.
“This is an opportunity to become more self-sufficient, because we are betting on horse racing – not betting on VLT machines or HHR machines.”
Rees is an equestrian communications specialist in the horse racing industry, including working for the National and the Kentucky HBPA.