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Illiniharnessracing / News Article



From “The Betting Public’s” Perspective

By G.M Jones for Illiniharnessracing


When is all the experimenting going to end?  Local racetracks have modified the post times, they have gimmicks moving around all the time, the “Quick Start”, and now they have a three quarter of mile dash--on a half mile racetrack. 

When is it going to stop? Gamblers don’t want any of that.


Gamblers especially horse bettors are creators of habit they don’t crave for changes they will continue to do the same things day in and day out, so experimenting will only bring negative contribution from the consumers. Therefore, why all the changes? Why would you try to renovate something that isn’t broke?


Change is good in most cases. And there are many aspects of the horse industry that desperately needs to change. But that’s not what I’m addressing here. What I’m talking about is the racetracks need to keep things simple for the gambler.


Every racing season something changes in the Chicago circuit. Why?  Why can’t it be similar to the Meadowlands? Where every individual that gambles there knows what to expect. The pick six starts in the fourth race, the pick four starts in the sixth race, rolling pick three’s are carded throughout the agenda, the early double, and the late double start in the same race every night. Plain and simple! This system has gone for many years successfully. Where patrons know what to anticipate.


In Chicago, no one knows what to anticipate. One year the pick four starts in the seventh race, then the next year it’s altered to the second, and then reversed back to the seventh. Now if there happens to be a Bal-Cal pick four-- well there’s no pick four at Balmoral Park. Why? One year it has a dollar minimum the next year it’s a 50 cent minimum after that back to a dollar. Why? Why so many changes? Gamblers are tired of it and they don’t want changes. Gamblers just want the similar system day in and day out, year in and year out.


 “It just doesn’t make sense to keep changing things around” says Jay Cook a loyal Chicago gambler.


 “Why does Illinois tracks keep changing there system when it comes to all there gimmick?” Cook continues, “One year you have a pick six then the next season you don’t. One year you have a pick nine then you don’t…. I’m here to make scores. I used to love betting those bets.  You could get lucky and make a score, not like all these dime and fifty cent bets they have now.”


So does this high roller bet any of those dime or fifty cent bets?


“Who wants to hit a super and win 22 dollars or a tri and win 15 dollars? I know I don’t! I used to bet the supers before they brought the dime plays.  If nobody would hit the super they used to have great carryovers. I would raise my bet from a sixty dollar ticket to a one hundred to three hundred dollar ticket, where I had a chance to make a nice score.   But now you have this dime bets where people can box four horses for $2.40 and get lucky. Come on that’s a joke… I will never bet into that. It’s not a slot machine where people just sit down and pull a lever and hope to get lucky.”


Jay believes it’s a game of skill not luck in the long run “The guys that puts the time and effort are the ones that are suppose to get lucky not the guys betting numbers or their home address, but with all these low wagers offered its turning out to be that the devoted gamblers are being drawn away.”  An enormous point made by Jay Cook


 “I can remember the good old days when you could bet a super and take out the whole pool for ten or twenty thousand or there would be a carryover.” where the next race super could reach over thirty thousand “now with these dimes in the pool there is no more money being wagered but more combinations covered, so that eliminates the carryovers.” another great point by Cook


Carryovers are a win/win situation for equally the gamblers as well as the racetracks. The gambler gets the occurrence to go after funds that are unaccounted for in a pool at the same time the racetracks will get a bigger pool where at hand more profits for the racetracks. .


Tarl Depee another gambler remembers the pick nine, “I loved the pick nine for a dime--it was a great gimmick. Why would they eliminate it? This was a gimmick for the regulars; it took a skilled individual to pick nine winners. A couple guys and I would put up about eighty dollars a piece when the carryover would get around ten thousand and go after it. We took the pool down four times, a bet where we could make a little score, but now they just don’t have those types of gimmicks anymore.” The pick nine was eliminated after it was hit on December 30, 2006. 


“What they have done is put all these gimmicks where you have no chance of making scores anymore, so I have taken my money someplace else like the Meadowlands where you can achieve a score” added Depee.


In all reality, racetracks are trying to experiment with all these new methods of racing and gimmicks. But all the betting community wants is consistencies.  What racetracks seem to forget is that a true horse gambler will continue to bet horses as long as he sees the ball on his court. What the betting community wants from the racetracks is for them to make it simple and stop the experimenting.