MUSINGS

1. Sports betting accounts for a meager 1.4% of gambling revenues in Nevada. With this as a benchmark, it is hardly surprising that revenues from video lottery terminals at racinos dwarf the handle from pari-mutuel wagering.

2. The average bet size in Las Vegas has remained steady over the past five years at between $10 and $20. By contrast, in Macau, the average bet size has grown from about $50 in 2012 to $120 now. This makes 10-cent superfectas look puny.

3. Macau has 44 casinos that attract 100,000-plus gamblers per day and the number is increasing by 10% to 20% annually. Rapidly-increasing Chinese affluence is at work.

4. The television ratings for the one-hour telecast of the 2013 Breeders’ Cup Classic plunged by 40% from 2012. The rating of 1.4 equates to about 1.1 million households. The Breeders’ Cup telecast was up against the very attractive Florida State-Miami college football game.

5. On British Champions Day at Ascot, Jockey Johnny Murtagh won the Group III Long Distance Cup on Royal Diamond. The stewards suspended Murtagh for seven days owing to his overuse of his whip. It is incidents like this that convey the image of doing anything for victory, irrespective of animal welfare. Compare Murtagh’s reprehensible ride with that of jockey Gary Stevens in the 2013 Breeders’ Cup Classic on Mucho Macho Man. Despite being under intense pressure down the stretch from Will Take Charge and Declaration of War, Stevens did not punish his mount.

6. Horse racing is the only sport where the employees or agents can get away with dictating the rules of the game to business owners. Despite the anti-furosemide stance by prominent racehorse owners and The Jockey Club–and their attempt to ban furosemide in at least graded stakes for 2-year-olds–the pro-furosemide trainers (not all of them) get their way. Imagine if coaches in the National Football League attempted to dictate medication policy to the League owners.

7. Racing at Aqueduct and Suffolk Downs may have been dealt fatal blows by Tuesday’s voting. New York voters approved seven full-scale casinos. Consequently, the land at Aqueduct will likely be deemed too valuable for a racetrack. Voters in East Boston, Massachusetts rejected a casino at Suffolk Downs, and this could very well lead to the track’s closure.

8. Don’t read much into the fact that North American handle rose by 8.3% in October 2013 as compared to 2012. Hurricane Sandy devastated some of the East Coast a year ago and disrupted wagering. Same can be said for the increase in handle for the 2013 Breeders’ Cup because in early November 2012, the aftermath of Sandy was still severe.

Copyright © 2013 Horse Racing Business

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