The TAB has done well to embrace a very simple strategy that the Australian bookmakers use around promotions in early races.

The theory is that if punters are encouraged to bet early, they’ll end up betting throughout the day. That certainly worked for me and no doubt hundreds of other punters taking part in the March madness offer refunding you (up to $20) if your runners finished second through to fourth.

This should see turnover increase so the results will be interesting. The general feel I get from our group is that people haven’t been betting as much in March though; maybe a little bit of racing fatigue after the high of the Karaka Million and resulting come down.

I read somewhere that the TAB was $18million behind in turnover on last year, which I’d be worried about as a CEO and if reporting to my Board, but I imagine there will be some sound reasoning as to why. The frustrations of the TAB’s new platform would have been music to the ears of a lot of Australian bookmakers picking up Kiwi customers for the first time.

If we keep the status quo of the current racing administration, we really better hope a competitive product and promotions like March madness are good enough to bring punters’ dollars back, because I don’t think we can expect new people into the sport.

I’m attending a business course this week with 25 business owners and the interest or knowledge of the racing industry in the room is next to nothing, which is staggering for a racing nut.

Back to the exciting stuff, we managed to pull in Tom Waterhouse from Australia to take part in our 10-week punters’ club last weekend. As our guest selector he had four horses for us to back and even with his expertise, we couldn’t land a profit. Hopefully the tide turns because it’s my turn to spend the $10,000 this weekend. Falling on my birthday and one of my favourite racedays centred on the Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes, it’s almost like it’s meant to be. Bring it on!

Around 100 of the BGP community are off to Awapuni to take in the Group One action. The BGP silks will be represented too, with a couple of runners giving our people a look into ownership, so hopefully they end up in the birdcage after the race.

With the rugby season now in full swing, you lose a large audience of potential racegoers and it really makes you realise how summer racing probably needs to be our focus in terms of driving on-course attendance. Unfortunately, I can’t be there this weekend as I head off to Melbourne to get through a couple of meetings and spend some time with the family.

They aren’t impressed I booked a meeting for a Saturday but I don’t like turning down opportunities to learn and it’s my birthday so they can deal with it because we’ll be off to the pub after to watch what ever I whack $10,000 on.

By the time you get to read this column, our video from Launceston Cup Day should be floating around the internet somewhere (first stop the BGP Facebook page) so check it out. It was an entertaining day hosted by Tasmania Racing.

Last week we launched the very early stages of our paid subscription membership for supporters of BGP. I’m rapt to say the first 100 slots went very quickly so my mind is already turning to giving them value exceeding the cost and whether we could soon have a BGP employee.

That person had better like a day’s work though, because as you’ve probably figured out, we don’t muck around and we don’t sit still. See you all on the other side of the Sires.


As featured in The Informant
Written by: Luke Kemeys

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