I read with interest the article by Dean Towers about the success in Australia of using free bets to encourage new players to follow racing. I agree this would help especially since most sports betting sites offer first time players some form of free bets.
The other issue not addressed is the lack of advertising of harness or other horse race betting services. I play most of my horse race betting these days through advance deposit wagering companies. In both cases, I became a customer through free betting or matching deposit offers. While I am not the customer racetracks want since I have transitioned from being an on-track customer to now mostly an at-home player and I know the track operators get a much lower cut of my betting to support purses. However, the convenience of betting from home has also helped the tracks in that I play more frequently and thus may actually provide more income to purses than my previously once or twice a week trip to one of my local racetracks.
However, compared to sports wagering company advertising I almost never hear about advance deposit horse race sites on TV or Internet advertising. But I must also endorse the concept of the free bet as a hook to keep people interested in your product. Both my advance deposit companies offer promotional offers such as free programs, and free or matching bet offers and usually some form of betting rebates even for smaller customers. This compared to my on track experience where I have to pay for a program, and only sometimes receive a free mystery bet or some other drawing for a free bet or other free gift. So, if racing is expected to prosper in this new betting environment, they need to advertise more and encourage more betting through more free bets and some type of customer rebates. Otherwise, watch many players transform into other sports bettors and not get the younger age group they aspire to capture. Thanks for the opinion on this idea.
John Chambers / Lansdowne, PA