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innovation from a racetrack - wow!

Bringing new punters through the gates, or at least to start betting on racing is one of the biggest tasks the industry has to face. Anything new annoys the dedicated fans and anything old does nothing to convince new faces to get involved. But Canada's leading track Woodbine, often criticised for their high takeout percentages, decided to teach people how to bet and focus on the gambling element rather than fashion, personalities and all the other fluff.

How Woodbine is attracting new fans

At Woodbine, they grew so exasperated that an expensive television production was producing so little in the way of results that they were ready to pull the plug on the show.

But, first, Woodbine management was willing to start over and give it one more try. Their idea was a simple one: make the show all about gambling and portray betting on horses as the exciting cerebral exercise that it is. No longer would they pitch the beauty of the sport or show features on the circuit's top jockeys, trainers or drivers. They would, however, teach you how much a $1 six-horse superfecta box costs.

The results have been nothing short of remarkable. Though ratings are not yet available for all of the shows, which are called "Bet Night Live," one recent broadcast attracted 60,000 viewers or about three times the size of the average audience before the new format was put into place this year. Just as significantly, the new show is producing a significant amount of new customers for Woodbine's on-line wagering site, HorsePlayerInteractive.com. The amount of new sign-ups increased four-fold once the new show started airing.


There are plenty of other TV shows on racing spread around the world - but very few actually TEACH people how to bet or explain the jargon which is so foreign to complete novices. What's a placepot (UK)? What is a superfecta (USA)? What is a quaddie (Aus)? What is a Triple Trio (HK)?

When there is so much else to bet on these days - the plethora of daily sporting events - with mostly very simple bet types, racing must make the effort to educate new punters about the fun of having a bet at the races and break down the barriers and negative connotations towards it.

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