pari-mutuel wagering

Book Review: Consulting Woodward's Ledger

Just shy of a century ago, Thoroughbred racing was undergoing a massive transformation in breeding and technology that would set it on a path towards expansion. The importing of international sires, the building of new racetracks, the development of starting gates and the implementation of what was called the totalisator, a device that tracked odds and payouts for pari-mutuel wagering, became all the rage into the 1930s. As you probably know, the 'tote' became linked to a board that everyone on-track could see and was intended to democratize laying a...

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After “Spreading Like Rabbits,” The Plug Has Been Pulled On Gray Games In Kentucky

They first showed up in Kentucky in 2021. Called gray games, they looked and acted like a slot machines, but the companies that manufactured the machines made the spurious claim that they were legal because they were actually games of skill. Before long, the machines grew to be so popular that, by some estimates, there were more than 5,000 of them, taking up residence in bars, restaurants and convenience stores across the state. "They spread like rabbits," said Majority Floor Leader Senator Damon Thayer of the games that got their...

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Sixty Incidents of Pool Manipulation. The Industry Shrugs

A month ago, the Thoroughbred Idea Foundation (TIF), a think tank that uses independent research to try and drive changes in the sport, brought to light an example of what it said was brazen quinella pari-mutuel pool manipulation at Gulfstream Park. The scheme was apparently designed to jack up the odds the manipulator would receive on winning bets placed with non-pari-mutuel offshore bookies that paid on-track prices. On Wednesday, Pat Cummings, the TIF's executive director, told an audience at the Global Symposium on Racing hosted by the University of Arizona...

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How to Better Promote Racing…a Q & A with Mattress Mack

Jim McIngvale (Mattress Mack) made history when the Houston Astros won the World Series. He made bets that returned $75 million when they won, the largest win ever in the history of sports betting. The bets were tied into a promotion McIngvale has used many times at his Gallery Furniture Stores in Houston. If he wins the bet, his customers get free mattresses. He's great at getting publicity for himself and his stores, but never had he seen anything like what happened with this bet, the story of which became...

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U.S. Wagering Holds Steady in August

Wagering on U.S. races held largely steady in comparison with 2021 figures, with year-to-date wagering reaching $8,604,332,789--up 0.24% from the 2021 figure of $8,583,460,027. During August, U.S. wagering was $1,194,876,167, a dip of 0.86% from last year's figure of $1,205,251,116. Through August, U.S. purses were $843,635,983, an increase of  12.29% from the corresponding 2021 figure of $751,274,418. During August, U.S purses were $130,206,874--up 3.66% from the August 2021 figure of $125,611,453. Comparing year-to-date figures from 2022 to 2020, wagering on U.S. races is up 17.76% and purses are up 62.57%....

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From the TIF: Cross Country Pick 5 Past Posting Exposes Tote Insecurities

"One of the most urgent issues facing our industry is that of improved electronic security for the pari-mutuel wagering system." This simple declaration was part of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA)'s five-year strategic plan covering 2006 through 2010, and published in 2005. Approaching two decades later, there has been little progress on the topic, and recent wagering incidents in the summer of 2022 highlight the long-term failure to address these problems. If you think the stewards are always in charge of stopping wagering when the race begins, think again....

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Amid Massive Gaming Expansion, Where Does Racing Fit?

The ever-expanding business of betting in America is in a difficult-to-predict flux right now, and one entity's risk is another's potential reward. "The gaming industry, generally, and horse racing, as a part of that, is one of the most dynamic industries on the scene today," Patrick E. Brown, a New York-based attorney who specializes in gaming and public policy, told TDN in a phone interview. "There's the obvious increase in sports betting and fantasy wagering, plus new technologies and advances making it so easy to wager. It's also way more...

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Attorney Frank Becker on Texas, HISA Standoff

The simmering stand-off between the Texas Racing Commission and the powers behind the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) bubbled higher Monday, when the commission's executive director issued a letter warning Texas will prohibit the import and export of pari-mutuel simulcast signals at its racetracks if the Act goes into effect on July 1 with jurisdictional authority over the state's Thoroughbred racing operations. In the letter, Amy Cook, the Texas Racing Commission's executive director, invokes various statutes in the Interstate Horseracing Act, the Texas Racing Act and the Texas Rules...

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Bettor-Friendly Legislation Passes Kentucky Senate

By a vote of 33-1, the Kentucky State Senate has given their stamp of approval to Kentucky House Bill 607, which modernizes the taxation of pari-mutuel wagers and, in a major victory for horseplayers, eliminates the dime breakage than has been the standard for many years in favor of penny breakage. The change in the breakage will put more money into the pockets of horseplayers and is the first such measure to be introduced in the United States. The lone dissenting vote came from Republican Senator Whitney Westerfield. "For more...

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Pari-Mutuel Bill Approved by Kentucky House Committee

Kentucky House Bill 607, which contains a provision to greatly benefit horseplayers by effectively eliminating breakage, was overwhelmingly approved Wednesday morning by a Kentucky House of Representatives committee. HB 607 also standardizes the tax rate on all pari-mutuel wagers placed in Kentucky and also makes claiming races eligible for Kentucky-bred purse subsidies. The bill must still be approved by the full House before being sent to the Senate. Representative Adam Koenig, whose district in Northern Kentucky is near Turfway Park, is a primary sponsor of the bill, which also has...

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HBPA Panel on Fixed Odds: Future of Wagering

HOT SPRINGS, Ark.--Dave Basler sees betting on table tennis in Asia and envisions it being replaced with horse racing in America's burgeoning sports books. "We can fill that void a lot of times during the day so that they don't have to play table tennis from China or cricket from Australia--things that people have no idea about," Basler, the executive director of the Ohio HBPA, said Thursday during a morning session of the National HBPA Conference at Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort. "That's not just attractive to sports books, that's attractive...

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Wagering Figures Up from 2020

Wagering on U.S. races through the first eight months of the year is up 17.51% over the same period in 2020, with $8,585,662,502 wagered on races in the country through August compared to $7,306,542,949 in 2020, according to figures released Sunday by Equibase. Purses rose 44.77%, from $518,929,044 in 2020 to $751,230,068 this year, while race dates increased from 2,144 to 2,781 and number of races increased from 17,794 to 22,862. During the month of August, a total of $1,206,119,197 was wagered on 455 race days and 3,539 races in...

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