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WEG Circuit Purse Decrease Effective April 1


Published: March 24, 2010 3:34 pm ET

Last Comment: March 31, 2010 12:43 pm ET | 14 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

Effective Thursday, April 1, standardbred purses on the Woodbine Entertainment Group circuit will be reduced by an overall average of 15%. The measure is necessary due to the decrease in wagering over the past year.

"There has been a general softening of standardbred wagering in the market, and the fifth day of racing during the winter at Woodbine clearly indicated there was an oversupply of product for customer demand," said WEG Senior Vice President of Racing Jamie Martin.

This will be the first purse adjustment at WEG in two years after two separate increases in 2008.

Purses for WEG's 2010 stakes and series are not impacted by the change.


March 31, 2010 - 12:43 pmI don't think it has

I don't think it has anything to do with the whipping rule. Let's be honest here, I know the drivers dislike the new rule, almost safe to say they hate it...but if anything at all, the customers who really go to the tracks because of the horses would rather see a lot less trigger happy drivers. I know its a business and everyone needs to make money but do it with keeping the well being of these beautiful animals in mind.

March 30, 2010 - 10:55 pmWithout the benefit of being

Without the benefit of being a owner or driver or trainer, just a gambler (only on standardbreds), knowing nothing about the takeouts and such, why don't the industry try new races.

Such as the PRIX DE AMERIQUE, where there isn't any starting gate, or like the Australian style of racing, where one week they race at a certain distance and then another, and still again another, like they do in the interdominion, change direction such as in australia and new zeeland, I know alot of owners would love to own a horse such as BLACKS A FAKE, that horse did it all and with a woman driving too boot,irrelevant of driver make it a new game where someone will come to see it again and again, and everyone knows we need something new to reinvent this game, or sport, anyway you look at it, it really is about the gambler and the money the sport is loseing to the CASINOS AND LOTTERIES, and myself being from probably one of the worst hit areas in harness racing DETROIT, somethings have to change.

Watch YOU TUBE for harness racing around the world and see what we are missing, there stands are always full and seem like they are enjoying racing.Isn't it ironic that all we here about LUCKY JIM, is to see if he is good enough to race over there, Make it so they say are they good enough to come here and compete in there game, over here.

March 30, 2010 - 5:00 pmMike, I agree a National

Maury Ezra SAID...

Mike, I agree a National Lottery would be a great shot in the arm for the horse racing industry, but the problem is that why would the OLG do it? They don't need to share with the racing industry right now on their lotteries, so how much would the tracks be able to get out of it without affecting lottery ticket competition from OLG staple products?
Though, I would argue that even if it was small, there would be more interest by anyone who buys a ticket, and it would probably get some new customers.

But I don't know what takeout experiments you are referring to? There have been zero of any length. Canadians couldn't even bet on Laurel Park when they lowered to 12% for 10 days a few years ago. And Canadians got paid as if the takeout was 25% or greater when Ellis Park had a 4% win 4.

The best example of the prolonged affects of low takeouts is Betfair, and their business has ballooned while horse racing has been spiraling to the abyss.

March 30, 2010 - 3:51 pmThe horse racing industry in

Mike Glatt SAID...

The horse racing industry in general is in serious trouble. They have been fooling themselves into thinking the slots players are going to subsidize them forever.

There is way too much competition for the wagerers dollar for the industry to be competitive.

The real issue lies in the fact that the competition has vast distribution networks (read corner stores) where any person can go virtually 24 hours a day to buy a ticket. Compare that with the on track experience or limited simulcast facilities which are available for racing and yes I know you can wager over the internet if you choose which most people don't.

As to the issue of takeout, it would obviously be beneficial to have a lower takeout but I have seen many experiments with lower takeouts with little or no effect on wagering.
Did you know that the takeout (theoretical) on scratch and win lottery tickets is 35%. I don't see people reluctant to buy these tickets.

The funny part about wagering on horses is, the bettor can actually choose to play or not play if the odds don't work in the favour which makes it far more appealing than most lottery games etc.

A national horse lottery would make sense if the proper distribution system is in place. People wouldn't care about horse racing but at least there would be interested in the wagering.

March 30, 2010 - 2:52 pmIn my opinion it has little

John Carter SAID...

In my opinion it has little to do with the whipping rule. It has much more to do with excessive track take out chasing people away from the game. As the wager continues to decline and the pools get smaller then even more people stay away as there own money starts to affect there price. I for one fit into or close to the whale category for years wagering on the weg circuit and the big m but i like many others finally get fed up with getting our pockets picked every time we place a wager.

If the race game wants people like me to come back or to attract young people to the game then get your heads out of the sand and lower the track take out to a maximum of 10% in all pools. The race game is finished if they continue to try to take the gamblers who support there product to the cleaners. Start competing with other forms of gambling, give us some type of shot by lowering the take outs or be prepared to close the doors all together in about 20 years time or less.

March 30, 2010 - 12:29 pmWhen the new whipping rule

Bob McIntosh SAID...

When the new whipping rule was put into effect, there were numerous negative responses from our CUSTOMERS , the gamblers. With the new rule in effect the handle has decreased dramatically It's time to listen to our CUSTOMERS and change back to the old whipping rule. It was an experiment that did not work! The CUSTOMER is always right!!

March 30, 2010 - 11:34 amI really hope WEG

I really hope WEG representatives or the higer up management positions read all these comments because I truly believe they are all worth being heard. To now have to pay for replays and live broadcasting when you offered it free for how long is very hard to swallow.

I am a standardbred horse owner with my father and I always like going to the "b" tracks over Woodbine. I agree that the smaller tracks make you feel more welcome whether it be from the grandstand or even in the paddock. You have that real horse racing feel, where as Woodbine is all about glitz and glamour.

March 27, 2010 - 2:46 pmThe addition of now having

The addition of now having to pay to watch a replay or live race on HPI won't help. Also, the follow the leader slow 2nd quarter stuff at Woodbine is too boring to watch race in and race out.

March 26, 2010 - 10:15 pmAll of the above writers are

David aziz SAID...

All of the above writers are correct.
I am a Harness fan since 1968 and an attendee of WEG product about 125 times per year until about six years ago.
Essentially, I found the "competition" ( WFR, GRVR, GEOGian) so much more fun, So much easier to cash a ticket and to win. They LOVE having you there, They KNOW you are there,
they THANK YOU for coming with Free coffee and gifts.
I also find the races more competitive and balanced. The WEG's condition book hasn't changed since 1970 and is badly outdated. ( NW in last six is far too long in a day when
horses only race 22 to 28 times a year. In 1970 most horses raced 35 to 50 times a year
and could re-classify far more qickly.

March 26, 2010 - 10:23 amI have always found it

I have always found it interesting that WEG and Ontario racing blame offshore wagering for the decrease in handle, their reasoning being that offshore can offer reduced takeout because of fewer expenses. My question is, do offshore sites have a government that literally gives them almost a million dollars a day in slot revenue? Harness racing blew it 10 years ago by not including the horse bettor in the slots bonanza, and after 7 years of steady decline in attendance and wagering, they still refuse to budge. It's too bad that salaries and wages also don't have to take a 15% pay cut, maybe then a few people would sharpen up a bit.

March 26, 2010 - 3:43 pmIs the decrease in wagering

Is the decrease in wagering over the past year due to a general softening of standardbred wagering in the market or are you loosing bettors to offshore accounts due to your high take out rates and a sadly very low reward system?
I would wager on the later as a sure bet. It is a fact that WEG is loosing numerous bettors to offshore accounts but I don't see them fighting back to retain these long time clients.I would suggest that increasing your reward system by 2% would equal to an instant 2% increase in overall wagering. Also why don't you include the smaller bettors in the TOA averaging?
Eliminating the minimum wagering of $1250 would be a good first step to show that WEG appreciates all customers not only customers who wager a larger amount of money each week.
The solution to this problem is not lowering purse moneys but by stopping this exodus of bettors looking for lower take out rates and better rewards.
This is not an easy problem to tackle but if you think that lowering purse money is the solution it won't be long before a total collapse of the horse racing industry.

March 25, 2010 - 12:17 am"The fifth day of racing

"The fifth day of racing during the winter meet at Woodbine clearly indicated there was a oversupply of product for customer demand!

Try a 4-5 month over supply of product.There isn't enough "A" track horses in Ontario to run Wood/Moh for 9 months,let alone 12.

If WEG doesn't reduce racing to 7-8 months of the year,harness racing is done in 5 years.If Sports betting comes into town,harness racing will be done in 6 months.

March 24, 2010 - 9:08 pmNot surprised by the

John Sarino SAID...

Not surprised by the decrease in wagering. The big track has taken all the fun out of racing. Today's racing is no more than a drag race, get to the top and count your money. What a snooze!

March 24, 2010 - 8:46 pmIt's funny in every industry

John Wood SAID...

It's funny in every industry in the world if you have an oversupply of product you lower the price so you can move inventory. The last thing that WEG management will do is lower the ridiculous existing track takeout to create demand for the product. They are stuck in a business model that refuses to compete on price. They have an entitlement mentality. Is it any wonder the racing is in a free fall at WEG and will continue to be in a free fall till reduced track takeout gets addressed in a meaningful way? Jeff Gural owner of Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs said it best that the only way the racing industry will change is if racing hits rock bottom. Until that happens expect a declining racing handle and even lower purses.

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