Mark Cramer Letter to the Editor



Bravo to Dean Towers for his editorial, “Keep Customers Engaged in the Old-Fashioned Way” (TDN, August 15). Towers tells the betting industry to provide a fair betting menu and low-enough takeout that would maximize the churn (how much a patron comes back to gamble).

“Joe, who places $310 in bets before having to reload, gets only a small bang for his buck in entertainment value. Jane, who places $1,000 in bets before having to reload, gets more than three times more action for her initial investment,” he writes. So far, so good.

He makes a jaw-dropping comparison with the enlightened Massachusetts lottery, which has a plus 80% payout, where players “can roll over their bankroll more times on scratch tickets than they can betting exactas at Del Mar”.

This provocative comparison has its limitations. There has never been a professional lottery player and there never will be, because lottery odds are rigidly deterministic. But in racing, where bettors themselves determine the odds, there have been professional horseplayers. A studious and selective horseplayer has some chance to outsmart the public in the long run.

So I would suggest a third example to go along with Joe and Jane. How about Jen, who places her bets with skillfully and never has to reload.

In calling for a more enlightened wagering menu, Towers comes up with a commendable critique; the question the power brokers in the sport most often ask is, “Will it pay us enough?” The question should, in my view, be “will it pay our customers enough so they keep coming back to wager?”

So true! But let's add another question: will it create the circumstances where serious students of the game have a chance to show a profitable bottom line and never have to reload? The industry should delight in the public relations bonanza that winning players could provide.


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