A Dec. 7 panel discussion on new frontiers in wagering turned into an indictment of the North American racing industry over its failure to innovate and change parochial revenue models that hinder the growth of pari-mutuel wagering.
“It’s always amazing the lack of outside investment that comes into horse racing,” said Ben Pinnick, chief executive of i-neda, a gaming consultancy based in Great Britain. “It’s a very insular business here. We need to create an environment of healthy competition.”
Pinnick and others made their comments during the University of Arizona Symposium on Racing & Gaming in Tucson.
Two PowerPoint slides offered by Pinnick were striking. One, called the “right view,” showed past-performance information made available to bettors for free. The second, called the “wrong view,” showed a past-performance PDF with a $3.95 price tag next to it.
“This is not a sustainable model,” Pinnick said. “It’s the road to ruin. Players do not want to pay over and over again to get data. You have to rationalize the relationship between data and how it’s distributed. We have to resolve this issue.”
TVG Betfair CEO Stephen Burn outlined his company’s plans to launch exchange wagering on a limited basis in California, perhaps in May 2012. Burn said a sticking point has been the revenue model.
“Racing has to be careful it doesn’t get left behind,” Burn said. “It’s too small an industry for us to be beating the crap out of each other and filing litigation. The future of the industry should be about collaboration.”