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Post Time with Dan Gall

Post Time

Recently I had the opportunity to meet with Senior Executives from ATG in Sweden and discuss their V-75 lottery scheme for horse racing.

Before I tell you about the meeting I want to share my experience with the V-75 lottery game.

It all started of all places in a hotel lobby in Sweden, waiting to meet colleagues from the International Trotting Conference. It was there I noticed that on the lobby TV they were televising live horse races. Watching the races were two gentlemen with V-75 lottery tickets in hand. That experience was unique in itself. How often have you witnessed live horse racing being televised in a hotel lobby with people standing around watching and wishing for their numbers (horses) to come in? Never, right?

Later I went to the racetrack and had a nice young lady walk me through the Swedish race program and educate me on how V-75 works. First and foremost, she informed me that it was highly doubtful that you could find a Swede that was not familiar with V-75. It's a national game and past time in that country.

Secondly, when explaining how the lottery scheme worked, it quickly became apparent just how easy it is to get onto this lottery horse racing game without having to be a handicapper or have to learn how to read the race program.

And then, I was told that 'Harry Boy' could help me even more. So, who is this 'Harry Boy' that she spoke of? Well, it's actually ATG's horse mascot who will generate a lottery ticket for you on the game that you want to play (e.g., V-75, V-65, V-5, V-4, etc.).

So, while asking for a $40.00 Harry Boy V-75 ticket, within seconds the kiosk spit out my ticket that featured 7 races. Out of the 13 races on the card; races 5-12 were the V-75 featured races. And on your ticket each race may have only one horse number picked, maybe two horses picked, or up to a maximum of 5 different horses that may win that particular race.

Luckily for me, the races that had only one horse picked actually won the race. Harry Boy was good that particular afternoon. Also, when I did have two to five different horses that needed to cross the finish line first, it brought a whole level of excitement, fun and interest to a horse race where I didn't know the horses, trainers, or drivers and could not read the program (it's in Swedish!).

Throughout the afternoon, I had just one ticket in-hand following the horses that Harry Boy picked for me, and man, it was FUN! It allows spectators a chance to follow and cheer for their horses with little or no background knowledge on the sport or the race. Of course, ATG has also created games for the experienced bettor who likes picking their own outcomes (e.g. picking your own horses) but for me for that afternoon, Harry Boy and V-75 was it.

And the beauty of it all, I could get my V-75 ticket at the track or at the local corner store.

ATG has done such an outstanding job with this game that it is ingrained into the Swedish culture and everyone knows about Harry Boy and the lottery because at times Swedes can win millions of dollars by playing it (MaxMillions? Sound familiar?).

Now, about the ATG meetings; the executives I met were not only knowledgeable and helpful when discussing the overall origin and concept of V-75, but they have clearly demonstrated that by looking at different alternatives for selling the sport they have created a pent up desire for non hardcore racing fans to become interested in the sport by playing the lottery scheme V-75.

To be clear, V-75 is not the only lottery game in the country. Sweden has a lottery corporation with a gamut of other lottery games, it has casinos, and it has racetracks. Does this remind you of a country you know? Maybe the country that we live in?

Sweden's ATG has demonstrated that by creating fun, and supporting and partnering with stakeholders, it has raised the harness racing into a national game that is hugely successful. Also, I left the meeting with the clear understanding that ATG would be more than willing and able to help build a similar program in Canada.

Isn't it time that we look at other channels of distribution and partner with existing jurisdictions that can create and generate interest, awareness and entertainment on a national level?

Dan Gall, President & CEO, Standardbred Canada
[email protected]

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