Tioga To Lower Takeout

Published: March 11, 2010 01:58 pm EST

Tioga Downs, in its relatively short history, has consistently been on the cutting edge of adapting the racing model toward a more positive result. In a direct response to the

vocal concerns of horseplayers, Tioga Downs will reduce its takeout rate across the board to the state minimum allowed by New York law for the 2010 racing season pending regulatory approval of the New York State Racing and Wagering Board. By taking such an action, Tioga management is hopeful that a positive response, over due course, will result in increased handle on its live races and foster an industry trend toward more competitive pricing.

A mutually beneficial dialogue has been ongoing between Tioga management and the Horseplayers Association of North America (HANA) toward how the needs of the bettor may best be met. HANA is a critical resource in understanding our customer and their input has been logical and subjective throughout. They recently conducted a member survey, where over 600 horseplayers who bet more than two times a week on average answered 50 questions, which yielded some interesting stats. Most notable among those was the 85.1% of those polled who voiced “moderate to extreme concern” over high takeout versus the 2.8% who answered that they had “no concern at all” over the cost of wagering. The same poll indicated that 53.9% would be likely to increase their wagering at a reduced level.

Jeff Platt, the president of HANA, had this to say in support of Tioga’s initiative: “We believe lower takeout is a step in the right direction and applaud Tioga for reaching out to the customer. Lower takeout gives players a better chance to win and over time enables players to bet more. In addition, by offering a low signal fee, Tioga is telling both ADWs and horseplayers 'We want your business.' We encourage horseplayers everywhere to support Tioga by betting their product.”

Tioga Downs' 2009 takeout rates were 18% for Win/Place/Show; 20% for exactas/doubles and 25% for all other exotics. For the 2010 race season the price of those wagers will be reduced as follows: 15% Win/Place/Show; 17% exacta/double and 21% for all other exotics, pending regulatory approval.

“Horseplayers have voiced their concern over the high takeout rates across our industry and we are responding to their call,” said Jason Settlemoir, Tioga Downs’ VP of Racing and Simulcast. “The USTA recently polled visitors to their website and 1,259 out of 1,710 people who voted (roughly 74%) responded they would be more apt to bet races if a track lowered their takeout rate. We will advertise that our takeout rates are the lowest allowed by law in New York State, and are anxious to see if business picks up due to the bettor realizing more money is going back in their pockets. We hope that bettors and host sites will support our initiative to lower takeout rates, and if our handle goes up, maybe our industry as a whole will adopt this philosophy.

“We would even consider going lower on the takeout rates to between eight and nine per cent like the typical hold in the casino world if the state would allow us, and our export sites would be on board.

“This will be a one-year pilot program that the STHHA stands behind, we had hoped to try this at Vernon as well but could not get the horsemen’s consent,” said Settlemoir.

In an effort to offset costs to host sites (tracks, OTBs and internet platforms which take wagering on the Tioga Downs product) the price of the signal to the majority of sites will be reduced to 2% and decoders will once again cost only $50 a month.

As of today the takeout rates are pending regulatory approval of the New York State Racing and Wagering Board.

For more information on Tioga Downs, visit www.tiogadowns.com.




Gee a Racetrack that is doing something positive for its customers. Who said Hell can't freeze over??!!

Here is a chart, using racings much ballyhooed churn rate of seven, which shows what 2009 thoroughbred handle would have been at takeouts from 5% to 40%. I agree with all of the posters (and Mr. Gural himself has said this) who argue that tracks who have slots should immediately try to be competitive and lower takeouts.

Who knows, maybe we could get Woodbine's harness handle to above $1.5M again, instead of it falling and falling every year.

Chart here:


Glad to see but still needs to be better. Now slots has been good and bad for horse racing, added purses are great but give gamblers another option to spend their extra money. Racetracks are forever blaming poker as the reason the handle has dropped year after year, but in your standard poker game the take out is 10% up to $5 or $6 dollars max. Now you take average table has 35-45 hands per hour you are looking at $175-$270 per hour. 1 or 2 players buyin per hour depending on stakes. So if ten players play 5-10 limit or 1-2 no-limit and all bring $200 dollars there will be no money after 10 hours. Now translate that to horseracing lets use 10 horse feilds those same ten players take $200 to the track and each bet all of it first race with the average takeout being 20% or so depending on pool there would $1600 to win say still divide equally amongst the 10. They each bet the remaing 160 each in race 2 another $320 comes out and so on and so on by the end of the 10th race there is basically no money left to be won. What people need to relize is there not 1 million dollar brought to woodbine to bet. It is the same $100,00 to $200,000 re hashed 10 times each time the total money dewindles to which after 10 races very few winners except the house. So lower take outs means money lasts longer for enjoyment factor and more winners. People will still bet there $100- $200 dollars. The other thing is no one ever brags about losing at the track but you always hear when they win. More winners equals better word of mouth hopefully more clients.

Since the bills and purses are primarily paid by slot/VLT revenue these days, this is definitely a step in the right direction with minimal pain.

It is nice to see Tioga listen to horse players who bet there hard earned money thru the windows and lower there takeout. Although they have lowered it all they can based on new york law, speaking for myself it is not enough to get me playing the races again. They say if they were allowed they would lower the take to 8 or 9% Now that would make me a horse player again.

I for one will never bet another horse race ever unless the track takeout is 10% at the most in all pools. If this means never betting another race i am fine with that but i would rather not bet then have my pockets picked by racetracks. Shame on the horsemen at vernon for not agreeing to give the people who support there product a break by lowering the takeout, with attitudes like this the sport is doomed.

It's nice to see that a track is willing to receive input, and is listening to their customers. At the other end of the spectrum, my local track can't even order enough hot dogs for dollar night!

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