Wednesday, January 09, 2013
OTB in your lap
Written by Brendan O'Meara
Recently in this space, there were some outstanding comments to improve the bettor experience. It got me thinking (oh, no) about the Great and Powerful Internet, specifically the Internet and tablets.
As I played Angry Birds Star Wars on my iPhone between bouts of Hanging with Friends, Words with Friends (yes, I do read), I thought of the amazing entertainment capacity of horse racing on tablets—an OTB in your lap.
Now, the mere mention of an OTB in your lap should make you want to bathe in hydrochloric acid, just to be safe, but hear this out.
With an adequate Internet connection and a tablet, let’s use an iPad, races can stream on a retina display that would be better than any viewing experience short of riding on Shackleford’s back. The real power comes between races—that lull that leaves even seasoned horse players bored.
All that downtime between races is like having a pitching change every inning … for an extra inning game … between the Astros and the Marlins … in Miami … in August … and the retractable roof broke … while open.
Well, let’s break it down and reverse bake this cake. What are the ingredients? What do handicappers need most?
1. Money. Easily accessed account info. Need to add money? Done. Your balance rests in the upper right-hand corner of the screen. Beside that, perhaps a live calculator: are you in the black or the red? Beside that, a number for Gambler’s Anonymous.
2. PPs. Probably going to hang on to paper on this one . I like reading manuscripts and making edits, etc on paper. I hate handicapping on a PDF. So this is an option to link up, but we’ll defer to dead trees.
3. Beautiful Women. The Top Turf Teddy App, still in development, I hope.
There’s the fundamentals. Next, a look at interactivity.
4. Ticket Building. I love that gigantic screen Randy Moss uses during a telecast. You know the one. He stabs his fingers at it and he gets no response and he has to stammer to buy time while is clammy hands fail to trigger the touch-screen interface. In principle it’s great. Think DRF Ticket Builder built right into the app.
5. Race Replays and Track Surfing. My feeling is that there’s at least one horse race running at any time during the course of any day across the globe.
I think we’re getting somewhere. But what if you’re actually at the track? Don’t you hate those lines?!
Infomercial Lady: Yeah! Who doesn’t? (gives incredulous look to eager audience as if to suggest that we’ll have to live with this NECESSARY evil.)
Pitch Man: Well, with the horse racing interactive app—as seen on TV—you no longer have to deal with lines.
Infomercial Lady: Wait! Wait! Wait! You mean to tell me I don’t have to wait in line? (looks at the camera with those You-can’t-be-serious-so-stop-yanking-my-chain eyes)
Pitch Man: Place your food and drink order straight through the app, pay through the app, but—promise me this, will ya?—don’t eat through the app.
Infomercial Lady: Oh, you! Of course not!
I’ve got the Chipotle app on my phone and placing orders through the app I can easily skirt the line, pay, and get out. So imagine you’re at Saratoga lounging at your table and you’re jonsesin’ for Hatties?
Shoot, I’ll do you one better. With location services, why can’t that food be delivered right to you? The answer’s easy if you can get the tracks do to one simple thing: give a damn about you.
And there’s the bottle neck.