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Piontkowski On Takeout Reduction, Warning Signs For Racing


Published: March 22, 2011 2:18 pm ET

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"I do know that, after being in business since 1972, everything that everybody's tried hasn't worked and when something's broken you try to fix it so we're giving it a shot."

On today's episode of Trot Radio, Norm Borg talks to Gary Piontkowski, who acts as the President of Plainridge Racecourse and also serves on the board of the Florida Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association. On Monday, Plainridge announced a cut in takeout to 15 per cent across the board while also changing its fees to ADW sites not directly affiliated with horse racing.

"One of the things that's always been a bug on me the fact that you get...a guy in a room who says 'sell me your signal for three per cent', just like you're selling it to any live racetrack. And people joined right in and said 'great, another outlet, let's send it to them'. These things have sprung up everywhere. If you sell your signal for three per cent, and your blended rate between your win, place and show and your exotics is 22, he's keeping 19.

"Now if you're a racetrack, you're going to give a percentage to your horsemen - which is the right thing to do, you're going to pay overhead, you're going to pay state taxes, you're going to pay for a barn, you're going to pay to maintain a racetrack, maintain a paddock and in the end, these [ADW retailers] are the people making all the money - you've got one or two employees in a room with a computer system...It is an area that provides a service to people that can't make it to the track and I'll gladly do business with them, just pay the fee."

Borg and Piontkowski also discuss the proposed bill in Florida that would permit dog racing tracks with enhanced gaming to drop the racing and operate simply as a casino. Piontkowski recalls when this happened in Massachusetts and warns horsemen that it could come to harness racing tracks as well.

"This is going to start happening, I'm afraid, across the country," said Piontkowski with a sigh. "You look at people who have invested into a property and become a gaming operation most of the times on the backs and heels of horsemen and farms, etc., and now what the states are doing is looking for money and they're going to draw it back. At some point, there's going to be bills filed like there was in Florida. I think it's very scary and I think it's a warning. We've had the warning for many years, no one's paying attention to it."

The full interview with Piontkowski is available below.

Episode 191 – Racing Executive Gary Piontkowski
Audio Format: MP3 audio
Host: Norm Borg

Please note that the opinions expressed in the following interview are those of the participant and do not necessarily reflect Rideau Carleton Raceway and/or Standardbred Canada.

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