The long established view of stakes relating to turnover is a moot point.
James Goodman writes in the Sporting Post mailbag that the industry has argued that stakes are directly related to turnover and in pure business talk this seems imminently workable and is the only clear indicator of how to set the stakes for a racing centre.
All well and good and owners and trainers have accepted this rationale as a means for determining the stakes paid in the various regions. But is this actually happening?
A cursory glance will indicate that this is very far from the actual facts. This is because income on away meetings only concerns the totes in your region
In gathering the information on stakes and how they are paid I decided to firstly track the stakes paid on a race meeting and the turnovers generated at the race meeting concerned. I then did it for the next day’s racing at a different centre .Monday at Kimberley and Tuesday at Kenilworth.
I specifically used 2 days following each other to give an idea of how the turnovers fared. Obviously in order for this to be definitive one needs to take meetings on a daily basis and be given all the data.
I approached Patrick Davis (Racing Executive Phumelela) for some help. This was not forthcoming and in fact my queries were rebuffed and the questions asked about Kimberley were met with a distinct “I will not divulge and it’s none of your business” reply.
I mainly enquired about the expenses related to Kimberley but was given short shift.
Why Query the expenses you may ask? Well I have always had concerns about the actual costs in running Kimberley and how these costs, if real, can be cut. These were quoted as R10mil per annum. I am not sure if this includes the stakes paid?
So let’s look at a specific meeting and 13th January gives us some insight into the turnovers at Flamingo Park and then the 14thJanuary at Kenilworth
- Flamingo vs Kenilworth exotics nett pools:
Bi Pot R168k R193k
Place acc R432k R472k
P6 R311k R903k
Jackpot R527k R227k
Totals R1,438,000 R1,750,000
These are figures rounded to the nearest R1000. This show the exotics for the 2 meeting shows a turnover of R312 000 more for Kenilworth.
The glaring difference in these figures is that the P6 at Kenilworth was 3 times as big as the Kimberley P6.
I have no idea why as the jackpot at Kimberley is twice the size of the Kenilworth Jackpot. Maybe because of the results of the meeting leading up to the closing of those exotics?
Now let’s look at the gross stakes paid for both meetings.
Flamingo Park R395k Kenilworth R580k
I also took screenshots of later races at each meeting and these show that the Kimberley meeting has a marginally higher turnover than the Kenilworth meeting the next day.
These figures might have different forces but on the whole Kimberley is remarkably similar to Kenilworth in turnovers.
Unfortunately I am not able to access exact figures as Patrick Davis of Phumelela was unwilling to give me these!
Larry Wainstein of the Racing Association was very helpful and explained that they were given all the information they had by Phumelela, but no tote figures.
The most helpful was Michel Niarac of Gold circle.
He explained how the stakes pot was derived and what is most glaring in the problems Kimberley faces is that they get 3% of the turnovers on other race meetings – BUT the 3% is from the tote branches in their region.
Well they only have 3 outlets in the Northern Cape as opposed to hundreds of outlets in KZN and Gauteng.
So 6 or 7 times a week when racing is at any other course the money generated for Kimberley stakes comes from 3 tote outlets in the region.
Speaking to the trainers the tote in Kimberley is not in good shape and who knows what the other 2 totes are like?
If one reads the sign (see below) posted on the tote machine at the racecourse for the above meeting I realise that not much effort is put into Kimberley by the authorities that run this meeting.
This is the only terminal available to the on course public!
In effect the tote operator did not bring ANY change to the races and as a punter you had to have the exact amount of your bet. This cannot be conducive to enticing the public to have a bet on course.
This exercise would be so much more incisive if I was given exact figures and on all meetings.
If the Phumelela management was approachable and did not hide behind the ‘we are a public company and not at liberty to give specifics’ catch phrase, we would know the actual answers.
Unfortunately I am not the only concerned person who has been stonewalled by their authoritarian and dictatorial attitude!
This exercise gives food for thought.