Horse players continually advocate for a lower takeout rate at North American horse tracks. Despite their advocacy the takeout rate has gone up more often than not. That’s going to change this Fall at the upcoming all-turf Thoroughbred meet at the Meadowlands at New Jersey run by Monmouth Park. Every bet on the meet will have a 15 percent takeout. That equals the lowest takeout in the country, offered by Suffolk Downs at their six day meet this year. Last year, takeout at the 14-day Meadowlands meet was 17 percent for straight bets (win,place,show), 19 percent for exactas and daily doubles; 25 percent for pick threes, trifectas, and superfectas; and 15 percent for pick fours and pick fives.
Dennis Drazen, advisor to the ownership group of Monmouth Park said that the move was an ‘experiment’ prompted by the constant request from horse players for a lower takeout rate: “Everybody keeps talking about reducing takeout to a fairer number. We began talking about this last year and we think it makes sense to do it now to see what we come up with.” The meet will be the fourth operated by Monmouth Park at the Meadowlands track. It begins September 28 and runs through October 19 and has, on balance, been considered a success due to the large fields in the races among other factors. Last year, average field size at the Meadowlands meet was 9.9 horses per race, well above the overall 2015 national average field size of 7.85 horses per race. It also has been successful at attracting the betting public with the handle growing by 15% or more every year.
Lower takeout is extremely popular with players and seen as a way to get more money in their hands which more often than not gets ‘re-bet’. The thinking is that the greater ‘churn’–or re-betting action–will make up for the lower percentage takeout rates in terms of track revenue. Due to the disjointed nature of horse racing, however, nothing is easy as it should be. Simulcasting operations make less money with a lower takeout rate and in the past have refused to carry signals from tracks that lower their percentages.