Thursday, 20 May 2010

Thinking out of the box

I'm surprised by the aggressive response to the proposal by my Australian colleague Andrew Twaits that betting should be made account-based to increase transparency.

Harness Racing Victoria chief executive John Anderson has said the proposal is "absolute nonsense", and "ridiculous", and has said that It would "totally cripple the racing industry."

Meanwhile, the Tabcorp spokesman takes the opportunity to take a pop at the part of our business model his company can't compete with, saying that "If betting exchanges were serious about maintaining Australia's high levels of integrity in betting, they would also agree that backing a horse to lose is one of the biggest risks to the integrity of racing." I wonder if he'd like the spreadsheet I have which allows me to do exactly that, undetected, on the TAB.

It seems to me that having something sold on a predominantly cash basis, and gravitating it to a card-based system, is not actually all that difficult. We have, after all, managed it in our everyday lives, such that many of us now prefer to pay by Switch and Maestro than we do carry around a wallet stuffed with notes and a pocketful of change.

And further to that, what about the advantages? There's a reason why the supermarkets introduced loyalty cards, and it wasn't so that they could give us things for nothing. They have the most comprehensive understanding of our spending habits as a result of it, and they know when to target us, and with what. Why should knowledge of a punter's habits be any different.

Who knows... Maybe all the critics are right. But the comment that ""We haven't done the numbers, but I think it would be catastrophic" is telling. It seems to me to translate as, "Hey, it's new; it's out of the box. We're the racing industry. Please, we don't want to consider something like that."

1 comment:

  1. or it's an admission the industry knows that a lot of dirty money goes through TABs and oncourse bookies to be 'washed'