the casual horseplayer wont wager anyway.. BUT the 4 or 5 day a week player will NO longer wager with uncle Vinnie.. The *new* player will never wager, anywho until there is something else do draw them in to the track.. IF they wont bet now.. phones wont change them one way or the other.. I do think there are thousands of players who work 5 days a week who cant make it to the track, BUT wager anyway ;-) . A major majority of these players now will, more then likely wager through the legal California system(s). For safety and *points* awarded in the California GSRN system..
I haven't seen the law either. I strongly doubt that they limit this to services offered only by the CA racetracks.
Like most states, CA has not, in the past, specifically made phone betting illegal. They simply had a position (until this legislation) that everyone can offer it EXCEPT their racetracks.
All this new law does is offer the California racetracks a chance to catch up. It's not going to change the betting habits of anyone who already has an out of state phone account with someone else. (Why switch?).
And without content delivery for lots of tracks, (see TVG for that one) I think the bill offers very little to MEIC racetracks in California, except to remove a marketing handicap they may have felt for the Ladbroke service. It will have minimal impact on revenue. I believe that the political muscle should have been spent on making phone betting illegal for everyone. The current legislation simply enshrines the position of competitors who do not have California racing licenses.
I have my doubts about phone betting, and I am in a small minority. But hey, the majority is often wrong when it comes to decisions about the racing industry. My reasoning of the missed opportunity follows:
1/ Phone betting in jurisdictions where it is available has not produced new fans. It has simply cannibalized the existing fan base. Witness the New York experience with its 25% reduction of live handle.
2/Phone betting provides very low margin to the racetracks compared with betting on site.
3/ Ironically, this is a case where the "haves", who are the racetracks with existing facilities and simulcast rights, are lobbying mightily to give "have-nots" (the betting companies) the right to take their business.
4/ A much more potent strategy would have been for the "haves" to have alligned themselves with the "moral majority" and to have worked for a vigorous outlawing of ANY phone betting or internet betting on ANY sport, including horse racing. A 100% excise tax on "profits" from such activities would have dissuaded most of the real players from using the new media.
Why?? Am I crazy?? Maybe. But cutting low capitalized competitors into your business is pretty stupid, in my view. What I see coming out of the current "hope" is that a lot of horseplayers will be introduced more and more to the ease of betting at home and the profit margin going outside the industry. Also, the new media, because there are not strong prohibitions, will make it easier for sports bettors (FOOTBALL, BASKETBALL) to bet, when many of them in the past would not have done so except through bookies. More and more of our horse handle will be bet on the Cardinals and the Rams.
The game is not about volume; it is about profit. A 3% hold on a wire bet is bad business when it comes from your 20% hold customer. The right strategy should involve creating more plush on-site theaters and clubs for horseplayers. And, when you have a quasi-monopoly which is legal through state licensing, it should be focused on keeping non-licensed competitors out.
All that being said, I expect MIEC to do well on the traditional side of the business. And I am only hoping for a few points and will probably trade out again unless the management does something impressive.