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Step Back, Satan


On occasion, HorseRaceInsider provides a forum for alternate views from various segments of the racing industry. Media, foreign and domestic, prominent industry leaders, and leading handicapping practioners will be afforded an opportunity to express themselves independently. The following are the thoughts of foreign journalist Dr. Carlo Zuccoli regarding the possible installment of exchange betting in this country. Opposing comments are not only welcome but encouraged

Vade retro Satana ("Go back, Satan" or "Step back, Satan") is a Medieval Catholic formula for exorcism, recorded in a 1415 manuscript found in the Benedictine Metten Abbey in Bavaria.

In current Catholic tradition, the formula is used to repel any possible evil thing or happening, as a "spoken amulet".

The phrase Vade retro Satana is also used as a witty or scholarly prose device, dissociated from its religious implications, to express strong rejection of an unacceptable (but possibly tempting) proposal, or dread of some looming menace.

Namely, in the sense of ‘do not tempt me’, ‘I will have nothing to do with that’."

Now that Monmouth Park 2011 race meeting has started all the horsemen in America can breathe deeply as no exchange, “the Devil,” has begun working in New Jersey yet.

The situation is rather bizarre: Betfair and its subsidiary American company TVG, have spent a lot of money promoting the exchanges, asking famous economists to produce various documents.

But they have missed the focus point and have been unable to create a working model for exchanges in the U.S. They very likely still haven’t a definitive plan. I have to say luckily for America.

A few weeks ago, the Governor of New Jersey has signed a deal with the new lessee of Monmouth Park, but nobody has said a single word about the exchanges, namely Betfair.

All the members of the American media, on April 25th 2011, seemed very excited about the arrival of the exchanges in the US, during a conference call for the presentation of a study produced by Mr. Eugene Christiansen, funding partner of Christiansen Capital Advisors, LLC: “Exchange Betting and the United States Thoroughbred Racing Industry.”

Mr. Christiansen was appointed by TVG to prepare the document (55 pages) and he started his presentation stating that in the UK, since the introduction of the exchanges (mainly Betfair), the prize money has gone up!

I tried hard to explain that, since the introduction of the exchanges, the English racing world is struggling and that the prize money has gone down and is going down dramatically for the simple reason that what the exchanges pay as a Levy is not enough.

Exchanges pay a 10 percent Gross Profit Tax on the commissions applied to the successful backer and layers, which can vary from 5% down to 2% depending on the amount of betting handle.

Compared to what the bookmakers pay for essentially the same service, the rate is ridiculously low.

The exchanges, of course, drain huge amounts of money from the bookmaking industry and the Levy is diminishing fast, as is the prize money.

A number of English trainers, owners, breeders, etc. has formed a group “The Horsemen’s Group” which is boycotting all the tracks whose races don’t meet certain “tariffs” [minimum prize money].

So far, the Horsemen’s Group is very successful, but nobody knows what will happen in the long term if the exchanges are not stopped.

As I have already explained, the exchanges need a big liquidity to work properly. If any tax will be applied, in any way, the liquidity will disappear very quickly and the exchanges will fail.

I don’t want to [reiterate] about the integrity of all the markets on which you can back or lay the outcome of an event, if you can determine that outcome.

American horsemen have been very lucky that the Devil hasn’t able to cross the ocean yet; he is still working on a model [that would work here].

Let’s hope that that road to America will be very long. Perhaps the monks in the Benedictine Metten Abbey will work for a just cause.

Written by Dr. Carlo Zuccoli | Comments (9)




Do you have a take on the state of the game, a favorite race horse, trainer or jockey? Share your ideas. Show the racing industry and media the folly of their ways. The HRI Readers Blog: "When you lose it, Use it." Submit your blog to HRI Webmaster.
 
 

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