JC / Railbird

Tote System

Time for True Payouts

Steven Crist:

The argument against providing true payouts like $2.06 or $2.39 has always centered on the flimsy issue of forcing mutuel clerks to deal with pennies. The real issue is that all those confiscated pennies add up to several million dollars a year in each of the largest racing jurisdictions …

In an age where most of the handle is bet offtrack and increasingly through wagering accounts where no one is counting out small change, it is time to re-examine these policies. A horseplayer whose $2.39 payoff is being knocked down to $2.20 is having a 47 percent rounding tax applied to his rightful winnings – on top of a 15-to-20 percent takeout.

Ending breakage should be as much an issue as shrinking takeout.

Tote Improvements

Last-minute late odds drops may be less of a frustration for horseplayers by late 2012, when the TRPB plans to fully implement a new tote security system that will make it possible for racetracks to display real-time decimal odds. Frank Angst explains in the Thoroughbred Times:

The decimal odds would allow a horse that is 2.60-to-1 to actually be listed as 2.60-to-1. Currently, a horse that is 2.60-to-1 is listed as 5-to-2. If that horse’s odds fall to 2.40-to-1, it currently is listed as 2-to-1, which creates the perception of a more dramatic odds change that what actually occurred. The system initially will focus on win odds but plans would allow for the eventual addition of other pools.

According to the press release sent out by the TRA on Tuesday, the new system will also include a standardized stop-betting process — which should help end the sort of past-posting incidents handicapper Mike Maloney has publicized, such as this one at the Fair Grounds, or this one at Hollywood Park.

1/10/11 Addendum: If only such a system were already in place. Then, the odd betting that manifested in Sunday’s sixth race at Santa Anita might not be so mysterious. PTP speculates that one bettor may have been responsible.