Playersboycott.org: Horseplayers Boycott Churchill Downs

Playersboycott.org: Horseplayers Boycott Churchill Downs

April 23, 2014

Horseplayers Boycott Churchill Downs, citing takeout increase, massive jump in key executive compensation at CHDN

On April 10, 2014 The Courier-Journal ran an article beneath the following headline:

Churchill Downs to take more from each bet

The following is a direct quote from the article:


--quote:
"Churchill Downs spokesman John Asher said without the change, spring purses would have been cut, including the likely cancellation of some stakes races.

"If Churchill Downs is to present a competitive racing product, purses must be strong enough to keep current stables in the state and attract new stables and horses to the Kentucky racing circuit," Asher said.

If the new takeout rate were applied to last year's wagering, Churchill would have gotten about $65 million from the betting pool. Under its contract with horsemen, almost the same amount from the pool would go to purses.

Churchill did not release exact takeout percentages, but said they're the same as Ellis Park and, for the most part, Turfway Park. The amounts also were in simulcast contract language reviewed by The Courier-Journal.

For instance, where a win-place-show wager previously had 16 cents of every dollar taken off the top, it now will have 17.5 cents taken out. People betting multi-horse or multi-race exotic wagers like exactas, daily doubles and pick 3s will have 22 percent taken out, compared with 19 percent now."
--end quote

The takeout increase goes into effect on Saturday April 26, 2014 and you can read the full article at the following link:
http://www.courier-journal.com/story/money/2014/04/10/churchill-downs-take-bet/7565235/



The article caused a firestorm of negative horseplayer reaction on social media and horse racing message boards.

One reason player reaction to the announcement has been so anti-Churchill is that, according to Morningstar, Key Executive Compensation at CHDN jumped from $8.20 million in 2012 to $27.92 million in 2013.


--quote:
CHDN Key Exec Compensation massive pay raise
--end quote


On the one hand Key Executives at CHDN are telling the press Churchill expects to raise another $8 million for purses while suggesting the only available option is to make Horseplayers pay for it with a takeout increase.

However, it seems these same Key Executives at CHDN who decided to hit you with a takeout increase also had their compensation increased by over double what they say the takeout hike will raise.

Forget for a second that takeout increases don't work and that The California Takeout Increase actually resulted in smaller purses not bigger purses.


We at Playersboycott.org think the actions of Key Executives at CHDN are egregious.

• I submit to you the idea that Key Executives at CHDN deciding to hit you the horseplayer with a takeout increase and suggesting to the press there was no other option while at the same time seeing their compensation increase by more than double the amount they say the takeout hike will raise is unconscionable.

• I submit to you the idea that horsemen and track execs at other tracks are waiting on the sidelines to see what you do next.

• I submit to you the idea that you as horseplayers are consumers and that as consumers you have a very big say in all of this.

• I submit to you the idea that every handle dollar spent - not just at Churchill Downs - but every dollar spent at a CHDN owned track (Calder, Arlington, Fairgrounds) - and that every dollar bet through CHDN owned ADW Twinspires.com - and that every dollar spent on data or reports from CHDN owned data provider Brisnet.com is a vote for higher takeout.

• There are plenty of other tracks to bet this summer whose wagering menus offer more value than Churchill.

• I've decided CHDN does not deserve one penny of my business. Effective immediately, I'll not bet one penny on races held at ANY CHDN track this summer (Churchill, Arlington, Calder, etc.) Further, I'll not bet one penny this summer through CHDN owned ADW Twinspires.com. Further, I refuse to spend even one penny downloading data or reports from CHDN owned data provider Brisnet.com.

--Jeff Platt
--President, HANA


You've Got Options
Boycotting Churchill Downs because of the takeout increases imposed on us has been made much easier because of the hard work of HANA. Their Track ratings provide takeout rates for all wagering options at North American tracks. Following you will find a list of lower takeout wagering options for nearly all wager types that are being offered on opening night (April 26th) of Churchill Downs.

Win, Place, Show
Churchill Downs increased the takeout rate for Win, Place and Show wagers from 16% to 17.5%. Over a dozen tracks offer lower takeout rates on these pools:

14.95% - Woodbine
15.43% - Golden Gate and Santa Anita
16.00% - Aqueduct and Emerald Downs
17.00% - Atlantic City, Delta Downs, Evangeline Downs, Gulfstream Park, Hawthorne, Penn National and Tampa Bay Downs
17.25% - Charles Town and Mountaineer
17.50% - Churchill Downs

Exacta
Churchill Downs increased the takeout rate for the Exacta from 19% to 22%. Over a dozen tracks offer lower takeout rates on this pool as well:

18.50% - Aqueduct
19.00% - Atlantic City, Charles Town and Mountaineer
20.00% - Finger Lakes, Gulfstream Park and Penn National
20.50% - Delta Downs, Evangeline Downs, Hawthorne, Tampa Bay Downs and Woodbine
21.00% - Lone Star Park and Pimlico
21.75% - Turf Paradise
22.00% - Churchill Downs

Double
Churchill Downs increased the takeout rate for the Daily Double from 19% to 22%. Over a dozen tracks offer lower takeout rates on this pool as well:

18.00% - Santa Anita and Tampa Bay Downs
18.50% - Aqueduct
19.00% - Atlantic City, Charles Town and Mountaineer
20.00% - Finger Lakes, Gulfstream Park and Penn National
20.50% - Delta Downs, Evangeline Downs, Hawthorne and Woodbine
21.00% - Lone Star Park and Pimlico
21.75% - Turf Paradise
22.00% - Churchill Downs

Pick 3 and Pick 4
Churchill Downs increased the takeout rate for the Pick 3 and Pick 4 from 19% to 22%. Two tracks offer lower takeout rates for these wagers:

18.00% - Tampa Bay Downs
20.00% - Gulfstream Park
22.00% - Churchill Downs

Pick 5
Churchill Downs increased the takeout rate for the Pick 5 from 19% to 22%. This is the most egregious increase of all as many tracks have adopted the low takeout "Players Pick 5."

12.00% - Lone Star Park
14.00% - Golden Gate, Hawthorne and Santa Anita
15.00% - Aqueduct, Gulfstream Park, Tampa Bay Downs and Turf Paradise
18.00% - Pimlico*
22.00% - Churchill Downs

* Note: The Pimlico Pick 5 is a jackpot 5 that only pays out when there is a single winning ticket.

As you can see there are many tracks that want your business and are showing it by offering lower takeout options. If you choose to redirect your wagering dollars away from Churchill Downs rather than not betting at all these are the best pools to invest in.

Lower takeout rates are thought to only benefit us, the horseplayers, but that is simply not the case. Lower takeout rates increase the churn rate of wagering handle, which subsequently increases wagering handle. Increased wagering handle increases revenue to race tracks and purses.

Through lower takeout rates we all win and now is the time to get this message across. The fight begins Saturday April 26th. I hope you will join us.

--Lenny Moon

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