Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Nowornever

No on course totes anymore?

Recommended Posts

10 minutes ago, Nowornever said:

Tote packs its bags - Axe to fall on over-the-counter raceday bets in new cost-cutting move

Barry Lichter

By Barry Lichter • 13 May 2020

Could it get worse?

When RITA confirmed this week it would not bring back its AM and FM radio network, one disgruntled punter posted the following on Facebook:

“Bad move no radio coverage of racing - that’s a big promotional tool gone.

“Imagine saying in the 1980s to your racing mates that one day the weekly race form guides, phone betting and radio coverage will all be gone and the TAB CEO will only think a double comes in a glass with ice. They would say you have lost the plot.”

Well, it just gets worse.

Drastic cost cutting by the TAB is poised to see punters on course unable to place bets over the counter and a halt to all phone betting.

In a letter to industry organisations yesterday, the same day Government announced a $72.5 million emergency rescue package, Racing Industry Transition Agency executive chair Dean McKenzie outlined some of the far-reaching measures it is proposing to make.

By far the most contentious will be RITA’s plans to move away from providing manual betting facilities at the country’s racetracks - where people hand over their money to an operator, call their bets, and are given a ticket, a common practice all around the world.

Instead it is proposing punters use self service betting terminals or their phones to place bets via the TAB app.

Racetrack punters have enjoyed betting over the counter with tote operators for decades.Racetrack punters have enjoyed betting over the counter with tote operators for decades.Punters would not be able to even use Touchtone betting on their mobile phones because RITA is also planning to close the phone bet betting channel for good.

RITA says it will work with the codes to “present a specific on course solution for marquee events”.

McKenzie says the decision to propose these changes has not been taken lightly.

“However, the level of savings required has left the Board and management team with no choice but to cut costs across all areas of the business.”

Earlier this week, RITA got specific about its 30% cost-cutting of staff, a slew of Trackside staff, including commentators, frontmen, camera operators, managers and producers to be axed.

And yesterday it was revealed RITA was just three days away from defaulting on $26 million of debts it had been unable to pay.

About half the country’s racetracks already have a few self service terminals.About half the country’s racetracks already have a few self service terminals.Club managers worried

Racing club managers today expressed considerable concern about the betting changes which RITA is looking to introduce when people are allowed back on course under COVID-19 alert level one.

Auckland Racing Club executive general manager of racing and operations Craig Baker said it would take three to five years to phase out on course betting terminals.

“You couldn’t cut people off at the knees overnight like that. As a club we wouldn’t be looking after our customers if we did that.

“In time, if you could put in enough self service terminals it might work, but we have only 14 to 16 at Ellerslie at the moment. But I think we’d need some tote terminals as well, especially on big days like Boxing Day (when so many first-time racegoers attend).”

Baker said while the number of people betting on mobile phones at the track has increased by 20% in recent years, newbies couldn’t transition straight away. It was no quick process to open a TAB account and even free bet incentives might struggle to get enough people to sign up.

Andrew “Butch” Castles … five years would be a realistic goal.Andrew “Butch” Castles … five years would be a realistic goal.New Waikato Racing Club chief executive Andrew Castles believes five years would be a realistic goal for weaning punters off betting with on course operators.

“In a lot of ways it makes sense, certainly on lesser, industry days when fewer people are on track but you certainly couldn’t go bang, like that.

“Clearly there are challenges but if you could ramp up the self service terminals, and have mobile ones, you might get there. But clearly there would be some days when we’d require on course servicing with terminals.”

Jamie Mackinnon … backward step.Jamie Mackinnon … backward step.Backward step

Auckland Trotting Club vice-president Jamie Mackinnon said removing the terminals on course would be a backward step.

“We would definitely lose revenue. The average age of our members is 60 and, while there’s nothing wrong with new technology, we shouldn’t be forcing it on them.

“We would try to find ways to make sure we could keep tote operators.”

Staffing the terminals doesn’t cost the TAB anything, individual racing clubs pay for that. The TAB’s sole expense on raceday is the control van which links the track to the betting host.

Antiquated machines

It’s the betting machines themselves that are the problem. Like so many other parts of its business, RITA is suffering from years of under-investment by its predecessors, the terminals largely worn out. Increasingly, it is becoming a losing battle for those fixing the machines to keep them alive.

Throwbacks to the 1990s, they were given an upgrade in 2005 but now urgently need replacing.

But, while it is believed RITA has considered replacement options, it doesn’t have the money.

Industry insiders also fear many casual punters enjoy the experience of engaging with tote staff, and being given a ticket, far more than they would being confronted with the spinning wheel death on the TAB’s app and website which has been flakey at best since its introduction.

Many of the country’s racetracks are also in areas where mobile phone reception is questionable. And even in the cities, getting an internet connection on marquee days is often impossible.

Tens of millions of dollars of bets were made through TouchTone.Tens of millions of dollars of bets were made through TouchTone.Huge blow for older punters

Despite a massive migration of punters using the internet to bet, axing the phone service will be a huge blow to many people.

While the TAB stopped taking phone betting through an operator on August 1, 2016 (except for VIPs and people with medical conditions) the TouchTone service continued to prove popular with millions of calls logged.

It has been a happy place for many of the mostly older people who like to bet small amounts - when the TAB earlier raised its minimum phone bet to $10, traffic through TouchTone doubled.

But the number of people betting through TouchTone has steadily been shrinking - in 2016 only 10,000 of the TAB’s then 250,000 customers regularly used it - and it, too, is now on its death bed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

WTF indeed.

Just close the whole bloody thing down, and be done with it. 

Seriously. Turn off the life support, shut the whole industry down. Forget it. 

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

today just gets crazier

RACING GONE FROM OTAGO AND CD

By Garrick Knight

Well-placed sources have confirmed to Harnessed that racing will cease next season, and possibly for good, in coastal Otago and the Central Districts.

It is understood that neither region features in next season’s dates calendar, which is due to be released on Friday. It is unclear whether consideration will be given to returning to the two regions in the 2021/22 seasons.

Forbury Park hosted 21 meetings last season and was due to do a similar number this term. Those dates are believed to have been distributed to tracks in Canterbury and Southland.

Manawatu Raceway was slated to host around 17 meetings this season. Those are gone, as are once or twice-off meetings at the likes of Stratford, Taranaki, Hawera, Otaki and Tauherenikau.

Despite this, Harnessed understands the net loss of meetings for harness racing next season is only seven, which represents around 2.5% of the total meetings from this season.

Other isolated tracks like Marlborough, Nelson, Kaikoura, Reefton and Westport are believed to have held on to their key meetings, though Reefton and Westport will possibly be stripped of their March double-header.

The move has been made by RITA, in consultation with Harness Racing New Zealand, and factoring in Covid-19, to ensure race meetings are held at tracks central to the majority of the horse population.

Excluding the stables of Oamaru trainers Brad and Phil Williamson, the number of horses trained at Forbury Park and in coastal Otago is miniscule.

It’s even less in Palmerston North where only Stephen Doody trains more than two horses.

Doug Gale is down the road in Bulls and has 10 on the books. When hearing the news, he simply said it will fast-track his exit from the industry after a storied 30-year training career.

“I spent $60,000 on yearlings a few months ago, and they’ve been syndicated amongst locals with the idea that they could see them race locally.”

Gale said the decision to exclude Manawatu made little sense to him given the club owned its own track, had fibre-optic capabilities, was a financially-secure club with decent stakes, and had the ability to run dual-code meetings with greyhounds.

  • Sad 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Actually, I hope the whole thing goes belly up, a week out prior to Cup week. Just to rub it all in. 

It's just getting ridiculous now... throw in the towel. It's all over. 

Unlikely, but maybe the game could start up again in 5-10 years. With an industry authority that can actually manage racing properly, led by people that have skin in the game and have a few clues. 

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Does Peter's know this?  Isn't he all about looking after the Province's?

If owners, trainers, drivers are willing to travel shouldn't RITA be able to?

My racing heart is losing the will to live.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Did anyone notice that $20m of the $72m went to the Thoroughbreds for tracks at Awapuni and Riccarton?  Add to that the $10m for the Cambridge synthetic track.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Who is making all these decisions? It will go from a turnover of a billion dollars to a few hundred million in the next few years, but the top end will still draw exorbitant salaries like it is still a billion dollar business and we are no better off.

Wipe every member of staff and contractor paid by RITA and make everyone reapply for the minimum number positions needed to run the ship. Those that have had anything to do with the introduction of the shit website or the fixed odds platform can fuck off straight away.

There are no salaries for any of these positions just fixed term contracts designed to get the maximum amount of work out of the person with an easy way to get rid of them if they do not perform.

We do not need high paying idiots unconnected to racing making shit decisions while running this show.  If you do not do your job to the required specification or meet targets you are gone. Get rid of the top heavy suits and get someone in who invested in growing the business for a lower remuneration. How can you not make a profit in racing when you have a monopoly defies belief.

Coming from an IT background I can tell you now 53 million and 17million a year for that piece of dogshit they call a website is insulting and embarrassing to all people connected to racing, and the managers connected to signing off that in any way should be the first ones out the door. 

  • Like 5
  • Thanks 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, Nowornever said:

 How can you not make a profit in racing when you have a monopoly defies belief.

 

Great post but especially this bit!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Fewer will bother going to the course now as this will be a turn off for some.

How many of the oldies who are the regular attendees have enough data to use on their phones. How many will be able to keep their phone charged a whole race meeting with the app open?

What about Motukarara with its reception? It has no hope.

There doesn't seem to be happy transition between all these cuts. It is just bang here we go.

They are turning racing into a made for TV product with the aim of having no costs at all it seems. 

Forget betting, I wish I knew what their end goal was for the actual racing product. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, Happy Sunrise said:

How many of the oldies who are the regular attendees have enough data to use on their phones. How many will be able to keep their phone charged a whole race meeting with the app open?

 

I'm not that old but I run out of data and power regularly!

7 minutes ago, Happy Sunrise said:

There doesn't seem to be happy transition between all these cuts. It is just bang here we go.

 

That's been the same Modus Operandi all the way through - remember free-view TV?  Remember phone betting?  JJ Flash will tell us this is a NEW broom - bollocks it's more of the same!

 

9 minutes ago, Happy Sunrise said:

They are turning racing into a made for TV product with the aim of having no costs at all it seems. 

 

Probably but don't think for a moment there are NO costs.  They are hooked into a 10 year contract for a high cost broadcasting platform.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 minutes ago, Chief Stipe said:

Probably but don't think for a moment there are NO costs.  They are hooked into a 10 year contract for a high cost broadcasting platform.

Got to pay for it somehow.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I find this story a bit disturbing.

They say they are going to transition to the self service machines because the ones they currently use that have operators are proving too costly to replace or service. Does that mean the self service machines will not require servicing or replacing in the future? It all seems so short sighted.

Personally i never use a self service machine because i dislike them. I have tried on occasions to get used to them but just found them frustrating to use.   I'm not one for filling in bet slips either because i think it ridiculous how small the writing is. Thats me,maybe others find them better. 

As has been pointed out by previous posters there are so many possible drawbacks to this proposal.  Won't this proposal cost them more revenue than it will save while alienating many of their customers?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
48 minutes ago, the galah said:

Won't this proposal cost them more revenue than it will save while alienating many of their customers?

They could have always reduced the length of race meetings to 2 1/2 hours like the Fast 10 concept at Addington in December instead of the monotonous 5 or 6 hours to reduce the costs of employing people on race day. I am sure some of those people would appreciate some income as would the patrons who don't have a smart phone.

This scorched earth policy shows RITA are still mired in shit in my view. 

 

Edited by Happy Sunrise
Brain fried after today's announcements
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I won’t say unbelievable, because it is believable going on previous decisions!

I have been saying for years that the TAB don’t care a rats arse about racing as it has been costing them money!

Sports betting is where they have been making the profit and they have to make a profit to be able to pay salaries of $750,000 and the other 130 odd who were on over $100k!!!!!!

Racing has deteriorated so badly in recent years and how you get to the stage where RITA owes money to the Bank where it can’t afford to pay it back, it is totally effed!

Sadly turnover is not going to increase sufficiently with the current economic climate taking place.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I went to the local tab today and deposited some money in a couple of accounts.  I decided to use their self service terminal to see how long it took.  Well to put 17 notes in,it took 7 minutes. Incredibly slow,just lucky no one was behind me. About 1 minute of the 7 minutes was used up when it refused to take one of the notes i put in 4 times. It was one i had got straight from the bank,couldn't understand why it was not accepted.  I confirmed the time from the 2 tickets i got back.

And this is the way of the future.

Does the person who has made the decision to transition to self service machines in the next 5 years at racetracks, have any  idea of how it will slow down betting. There is  only two logical explanations.Either it is a strategy to discourage people going to the races or the people making the decisions are morons.  Or perhaps its both.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 minutes ago, the galah said:

Does the person who has made the decision to transition to self service machines in the next 5 years at racetracks, have any  idea of how it will slow down betting.

No.

22 minutes ago, the galah said:

Either it is a strategy to discourage people going to the races or the people making the decisions are morons.  Or perhaps its both.

Both.

 

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Totally agree. Those machines are ancient crap, totally slow and not user friendly. Many times i have had to swap notes because got rejected. 
And they still charge you to deposit with card. FFS

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Funny thing, walked past Barrington TAB this morning. Somebody had stuck message on door. The TAB have decided to close this branch, ring this number and tell them what you think😂😂😂

Truth be known, Ex Staff probably put on door

  • Haha 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Newmarket said:

Totally agree. Those machines are ancient crap, totally slow and not user friendly. Many times i have had to swap notes because got rejected. 
And they still charge you to deposit with card. FFS

Since the clubs are going to own the machines they will carry the can for whatever happens.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
17 hours ago, Happy Sunrise said:

Since the clubs are going to own the machines they will carry the can for whatever happens.

I believe so many punters will not bother punting if they have to use self service machines,

How do you collect cash from winning bets???????

Most of the pub tabs never ever have enough cash on hand!!!!
 

Unfortunately racing turnover is going to plummet.

 

Edited by Brodie
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, Brodie said:

How do you collect cash from winning bets???????

they will be able to credit your bank account

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, Rangatira said:

they will be able to credit your bank account

Ranga, why would I want the TAB to know who collected?

I want cash, and I am not a money launderer!!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, Brodie said:

Ranga, why would I want the TAB to know who collected?

i am uncomfortable donning your thinking cap

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
47 minutes ago, Brodie said:

I want cash,

You'll need to find a new payout recreation cos TAB wont be settling decent amounts with cash anymore. Get used to it Brodie, those days are well gone , a bit like cheques.And im sure they wont be bothered if you dont want to deal with them. They have to play with new rules such as AML and thus you do as well .

 

Greg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

Announcements



×
×
  • Create New...