The primary objective of a competent Principal Racing Authority is to increase revenue.
Increased revenue means higher prize money, more infrastructure spending, better facilities, improved wages, higher standards of animal welfare, boosted breeding incentives and a whole lot more.
Flat-lined or decreased racing revenue means reductions in prize money, redundancies, decrepit facilities, an exodus from the sport in your State, and ultimately the death of the code.
Racing in Queensland is funded almost exclusively from profits derived from wagering.
The Principal Racing Authority in our state – Racing Queensland – is neither a bookmaker, nor a betting exchange or a tote.
RQ’s revenue – the whole racing industry’s revenue – is derived from taxes, charges and commissions imposed on wagering operators.
That leads to a very simple equation.
To increase revenue, Racing Queensland must increase wagering turnover.
No ifs, no buts, no fantasies about sustaining a multi-billion dollar industry by whacking on a few weddings and some piss-ups at your race track on days when you are not hosting a meet. That’s all nonsense, piffle and pretty princess fairy tales.
The only way to prime the pump in racing is to get punters to bet more.
That’s why Racing Queensland’s whizz-bang new Trot Rods series is the most stupid idea that any CEO in racing history has dreamed up, why the concept is the greatest dud initiative since the Broncos signed Jack Bird for a million bucks, and the perfect examle of why Brendan ‘Pins’ Parnell is unfit to lead the sport in this State, unless of course he was employed to lead it to wreck and ruin.
Everyone who has even the most basic understanding of gambling trends knows that the less runners you have in a race, the less punters will bet on it.
This is nothing new, and is accepted wisdom.
Legendary US racing leader Steve Koch has been telling us this for years, and so have a thousand other experts in the field, and no-one disputes the truth of what he or they are saying. You can’t, it would be like saying that water fire isn’t hot or water isn’t wet.
Just look at the chart below that Koch produced as part of his widely-lauded presentation to an International Gambling Symposium six years ago and you will see it clearly.
(note – Handle is the American term for betting turnover.
There it is in blue, black and white.
The less starters you have in a race, the more the betting pool drops.
So what does Racing Queensland do when they introduce their glittering fools gold of an annual idea to save the harness racing code that is bleeding $5 million a year in a business where they should be just running the coin minting press and counting the rivers of gold?
They reduce the field sizes to five.
Don’t put your hand in the fire Johnny or you’re going to get burned.
Keep out of the rain Rhonda or you are going to get wet.
Don’t schedule races with five runners in them Pinsy, or you’re going to drive harness racing into the ground.
I guess you can’t hear simple wisdom and plain common sense from the penthouse of an ivory tower. Either that or Brendan Parnell is deaf, dumb and blind.
You’re not, so look at this.
This is the betting pool for race number 5 at the Redcliffe Paceway on Wednesday, a stock standard race with eight starters.
Total invested – $5 067.
Here is the pool for race number 7, another run of the mill race with eight runners.
Total invested – $3 508.
And here is the betting pool for race number 6 squeezed in between, the much vaunted jewel in Racing Queensland’s harness code crown, the Trot Rod.
Grand total invested – $2 776.
When the clowns are running the circus you can only do one of two things.
Laugh or cry.
I cried a river too.