THE HOARSE WHISPERER By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 29 May 2013, Wednesday
Philracom says no to consecutive racedays
Would holding two consecutive racing days, instead of non-consecutive as they are now, lead to lower or higher sales?
According to Philippine Racing Commission (Philracom) Executive Director and Commissioner Jesus Cantos, they would be lower, a conclusion he reached after using data of non-consecutive raceday sales figures to forecast estimated revenues for consecutive racing days.
He said that this was the basis for the Commission’s decision not to grant the Philippine Racing Club’s (PRC) request for a schedule of two consecutive racing days.
PRC is the owner and operator of Santa Ana Park in Naic, Cavite. In his March 27 letter to Philracom, PRC Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Allan Abesamis, pointing out the current schedule of two non-consecutive racedays each week given by Philracom to PRC, Manila Jockey Club, and Metro Manila Turf Club, said, “Although the intention for this schedule may be good, the effects on [these three racing] clubs, the industry sales, and the horseowners’ prizes have so far been short of desirable.”
In 2010, horseracing posted total sales of P7.99 billion, growing by 3.65 percent over the previous year.
However, sales declined in the succeeding two years. In 2011, sales dropped 1.70 percent to P7.90 billion, and in 2012, declined further by 4.40 percent to P7.55 billion.
Sadly, racing sales are not mirroring the country’s growth (6.6 percent in 2012), borne by the prudent macroeconomic and reform measures applied by the government of President Benigno Aquino III.
Abesamis said that consecutive racedays would allow each track to reduce their betting system setting-up days from two to one, and spare bettors from confusion over the schedule.
However, Cantos said in an email, “Statistics indicate a positive result of the “two-day-split” in all pertinent attributes such as sales, horseowners’ prizes (HOP), and number of races based on the two months’ implementation which underscores the respectable decision of the Board in this direction.”
He emphasized that their forecasting showed that “sales are higher in [the] current split-day racing being implemented; horseowners’ prize happens [to be] higher in split day…and split day equates to higher number of races [equals] more beneficiaries [meaning more] revenue opportunities to more stakeholders.”
Studying the printouts emailed to me, what Philracom seems to have used for their forecast are the sales data from the two non-consecutive racedays of each track from February 26 to April 21.
What I don’t understand is how they came up with the figures for the “simulated” revenues – putting two racedays consecutively – when the figures used are the total of two days and not the actual daily figure. How can the simulated figures then be accurate?
Some simulated weeks in fact showed higher figures in terms of HOP and number of races.
Methodology aside, this number-crunching exercise also fails to take into account the human factor, such as participant and bettor interest. When bettors as well as horseowners and other industry folk are not confused about scheduling, they might be more inclined to participate.
Other factors pertaining to operations seem not to have been considered, either. Having one betting-system set-up day in a week instead of the present two would perhaps lead to less offtrack betting stations opening late and contributing to a decline in sales, as Abesamis has noticed under the current schedule.
An actual experiment, let’s say for a month, would unequivocally answer once and for all the question whether or not consecutive racedays would be more beneficial.