- Did you read about this guy Dana Parham, who spoke at the Symposium on Racing and Gaming on Tuesday? He's bet $2.4 billion over the past seven years, according to the article on Bloodhorse.com. That comes to $342.9 million per year, or, on average, just under $1 million every day, presumably somewhere he is receiving a rebate. Talk about a whale, this guy is a a barnacle-encrusted gray whale. You might want to take a look back to Joe Drape's thorough piece from a few years ago that discussed the pros and cons of bettors of his ilk.
I don't really have any strong opinion on the matter; as a mostly weekend and relatively small bettor, I don't feel as if I've been affected at all. But on the matter of how to turn the game around, which he addressed at the symposium, he certainly doesn't speak for me, nor for the vast majority of those of us who love the game as a game, not as a financial market.
Parham argued racing is about betting, and that “opening and advertising our pools as financial markets will attract large risk capital and will grow handle and revenue at a much faster rate than trying to win over one $2 bettor at a time.” [Bloodhorse]For one thing, it just sounds like a cold and dull future for the sport. More importantly, what kind of large risk capital is going to be attracted to a pursuit which might, if they're lucky, generate a 5-6% profit? If investors were satisfied with that kind of return, perhaps we wouldn't be in the current subprime mortgage mess. In any event, the financial market approach doesn't address any of the fundamentals of developing a new fan base, and it's an appeal to an extremely finicky crowd. It wouldn't take many drug positives to send them back to the options markets.
Parham did also note however that exchange betting is the fastest-growing segment of the horse racing betting market. What the industry is waiting for I can't say.
- Gregory A. Hall reported in the Courier-Journal on Tuesday that the industry is hesitant to help the riders, who will be losing their health insurance at the end of the year, because they're afraid that any monetary aid could end up in the pocket of Wayne Gertmenian, who has almost $1 million in claims against the bankrupt Guild, and is serving as the head of the creditors committee, unreal.
Riders had been told at the annual assembly they could sign up for a plan in California, but Matt Hegarty reports in the Form that that's not so easy.
Richard Shapiro, the executive director of the California Horse Racing Board, cautioned that jockeys are not automatically eligible for the program unless the riders meet specific criteria, including riding 100 horses in California in one calendar year. Shapiro also said that the board is considering reviewing the criteria because of the potential for an influx of riders to the state looking for insurance as a result of the guild's bankruptcy.Maybe they should try the Freelancers Union.