Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Noon (MST)

the first morning of the symposium has come to a close and here are some notes from Tuesday AM:

-The first panel this morning was, "A New Perspective: How Casino Operators Would Run Racing". A pretty interesting panel, and I recommend you check out the Power Point presentation created by Mark Midland of Louisiana Downs. I am not exactly sure when this year's PPT's will be posted, but 2005's are here

-Edward Tracy, CEO TrackPower started the panel off with some intersting thoughts on taxation and legislation. Mr. Tracey spoke about how racing and tracks ARE the casino business. He makes a strong case for the fact that tracks, for some reason, are getting shafted (my term) when it comes to taxation and legislation. An interesting take on this was, "Why are WE so special? - Something like tobacco, pharmaceuticals, Atlantic City and Indian reserveations ALL pay amazingly less tax rates - from ZERO to about 30%. Tracks are bing taxed as high as 70%. Definitely food for thought.

-Midland spoke for a LONG time, but was able to touch on some really great points - mainly from a marketing perspective.

-Some of his thoughts/ideas included:

On-Track Handle is stagnant over the past 10 years

Horse racing's "unknown pay-offs" vs. slots which advertise (agressively) what current jackpots are.

Promoting big winners like casinos do.

Use of Data analysis - Casinos are maximizing software while tracks/racing are NOT at all

Need to make Racing Fun and Easy - SIMULCASTING

Organizing post times (like UK/Australia)

Witholding percentages of wagers to give back in bigger, more marketable jackpots

Like I said, check out his entire Power Point (when it becomes available). He really did a nice job touching on some fresh marketing angles and perspectives.

-I walked into "How to grow in a developed market or how to steal the other guy's customer" a little bit late and only caught the last part of Will Cummings' (Cummings Associates) wonky thoughts on numbers and casinos and visitors......it was hard for me to follow, especially coming in late.

-Joe Weinberg of The Cordish Company walked us through all of his companies mixed use projects around the country. Of greatest note for me was the Woodbine mixed use project they are creating. It looks like they will be creating a huge development right at Woodbine which will have residential apartments, retail shops and a live music venue. Pretty cool stuff. You should check out The Cordish Company HERE. Mr. Weinberg's presentation has some nice visuals of all of the companies redevelopment projects.

-I'm off to the keynote speaker/luncheon and hope to have some more pics and visuals as the week moves on. I had breakfast with the Trakkus folks this morning and look forward to speaking with them in more detail at some point today.

-Let me know if there is anything specifc you'd like to know from me while I'm here. I am aim to please, so email me at drubin14@hotmail.com with any suggestions or thoughts.


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