It's Good, But Is $10 Million Enough?

Published: August 17, 2011 02:24 pm EDT

"We did a survey of existing studies and what we found was there is often a lot of good ideas but there was very low implementation involved. When we retained McKinsey, one of the things we tasked them with was to make sure that whatever they came up with was something that could actually get accomplished, and accomplished in very short order."

On today's Trot Radio, Jason Wilson of The Jockey Club talked to Norm Borg about The Jockey Club's multi-million-dollar, nine-part plan for the betterment of thoroughbred horse racing and breeding. Following the release of a comprehensive report by consulting firm McKinsey & Company titled 'Driving Sustainable Growth for Thoroughbred Racing and Breeding', the nine recommendations involve better television coverage; fewer, but improved race days; new wagering platforms; integrated rewards programs; free-to-play online games; social games; safety improvements; new ownership tools; and best practices at racetracks.

Wilson discussed an algorithm being tested that will allow tracks to better schedule races to the benefit of the track and the horseplayer.

"If you have a race that is run two minutes after the last major race, you're going to lose handle. If you just move it out five, ten minutes you can increase handle 10, 11 per cent and make everyone better off."

The comprehensive study, which began earlier this year, considered 600,000 races over 11 years and included about 1,800 interviews. Two of the areas the study did not make any major recommendations on were the issues of takeout and the on-track experience. Wilson told Trot Radio that the issue of takeout was addressed but will be handled in a different way.

"It's one of those surprising things of the study," said Wilson. "It did come up, I think we heard a lot from our most important customers that the pricing of the product is a little bit too high. But, in general, we thought a better way to deal with it - because of the regulatory environment - was to give targeted rebates to our best customers as opposed to a general reduction in takeout."

When asked if that $10 million fund was enough, Wilson stated "it's sufficient to do what we want to do. It's a good start. We're obviously looking for partners in everything we do. I'll say this: we're prepared to spend that money if we can attract additional money to what we are doing. It will stabilize things and then we can go from there."

Despite only being with The Jockey Club for 10 months, Wilson already understands the difficulties and intricacies involved with horse racing and its fractured regulatory nature.

"There are some people that are going to be a little miffed that they weren't included or that there's no big, grand, national scheme to have a commissioner or a national office but we think that we could take the next three years to try to get that national office or take the next three years to try to implement this stuff and we chose implementation."

To hear the full interview with Wilson and Borg, click on the play button below.

Episode 218 – Jason Wilson, VP of Business Development for The Jockey Club

Audio Format: MP3 audio

Host: Norm Borg

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

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