EPMA Forum 2008

1st Round Table on the Promotion of International Commingling

Summary of Findings
&
Proposed Recommendations


Round Table Part 1 – Experience in Commingling


Key factors to attract foreign punters:

- Liquidity – larger dividends and steadier winnings
- Variety of bet types, including the most exotic
- Attraction of foreign race


Attractions of commingling:

- Incremental profit for both guest and host (win-win)
- Instrument against illegal betting
- Tool for inter-tote cooperation
- Promotion of (international) racing


Factors that hinder commingling:

- Legal restrictions
- Double taxation (tax levied by both host and guest nation)
- Inter-tote connectivity (for some totes a big issue, for others less)
- Scheduling and time zone differences
- Rights holders issues
- Currency conversions
- Variation in bet rules (take out, types, refunds,..)
- Non-harmonised racing rules (interference rules, medication, …)
- Differences in racing and betting cultures (bet type preferences, thoroughbred vs harness, …)
- Lack of data, knowledge and familiarity with foreign races

Other

- Internet is generally considered an ideal distribution channel for cross-border betting as it is 24/7 in all time zones
- Third party distribution was not welcomed by everyone – integrity is concern to some

Round Table Part 2 – Promotion through the media

General

- No consensus among economic operators in racing on a consistent global product, which has an appeal to punters worldwide and is of benefit to all.
- Media are key to promote international races

Economics

- Availability of images has huge impact on betting turnover– need for webstreaming
- Take-out rates have to be shared by many parties; rights holder, betting operator, commingling facilitator, government, which makes it often uneconomical
- Image distribution frustrated by “leakage” (betting operator takes bets on foreign races of which the images are distributed be someone else without compensating rights holders)
- Increasing amount of competition of new sports channels
- Restrictive (wagering) legislation

Marketing & Promotion

- Cooperation needed between different partners, notably host, distributor and betting operator, to market and promote an event
- Branding and Marketing:

- reinforce continuously the importance of some global events
- Advertising
- Point of Sale (betting) material

- Continuous need for information:

- Rolling news (odds, stories,..) to complement images
- Not only raw data, but also background stories needed – host track does not always supply these
- Betting data needs to be added to images

- Races should be made accessible to punters:

- All platforms; broadcast, Internet, cable, mobile,..
- YouTube is platform to upload selected contents
- Microsites to promote specific event, racecourse, type of racing, etc.
- Webstreaming archives

- Local punters’ lack of familiarity to foreign racing product

- Foreign data does not always allow local data formats (data incomplete)


Scheduling

- Balance must be found between domestic and foreign races

- Promotion of high class races
- Filling gaps in domestic schedule

- Respect of timing crucial to be able to slot foreign races into domestic schedule.

- Images need to start 5 minutes before race to allow to see horses and “digest” odds information.


Technology

- Signal should be reliable and high speed

- Signal risks to be stolen, which emphasizes the importance of digital rights management and watermarking signal.

- Signal delivery structure not perfect:

- Inefficient use of infrastructure
- Satellite coverage not 100%

     

RECOMMENDATIONS

The following are recommendations are proposed to the Round Table participants:

1. Develop an online B2B database that shows

    - the races for each day of the week (pattern, listed)
    - links to rights holders of a race; betting, images, data, other
    - commingling history and future of that race
    - legal framework host jurisdiction
    - marketing material
    - best practice sharing on issues like digital rights management, taxation, etc

2. Develop an online B2C database in which a customer can find:

    - The races for each day of the week (pattern, listed)
    - Links to information sources: betting, media, racecourse, other
    - Links to archives of images and articles
    - Information about what betting is legal from visitor’s IP address

3. Develop a case against double taxation of commingled bets and steer a lobby effort.

For information; the IFHA is already facilitating an initiative to resolve inter-tote connectivity issues.