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Turf Deli Opinion
No more 50 cents bets. 03/09/02

Unfortunately we have to comment (yet again) on the contempt the TAB seems to have for its customers.

Attempts by TABCORP to introduce betting limits just discourages a new generation of punters and racing enthusiasts coming through who start off small and get an interest and then build on that interest. Whilst it may be economically appealing to introduce limits in the short term, in the long term it will suffocate the customer base and stop a new generation of punters coming through causing long term reductions in the numbers betting.

From our personal point of view, myself and many people I know started off as small punters when students or unemployed, progressed to more seasoned punters when the income allowed and encouraged others to get involved. We have now even moved into race horse ownership and running this oh so amateur punting site - but none of this would have come about if we did not start playing out with small amounts when we were young.

The racing industry and the TAB are looking towards short term economic benefit and face the prospect of doing untold damage to themselves in the long term. Of course this attitude is very short-sighted and self-serving. It serves only the TAB executives because they are most often on short-term, performance-based contracts, and bludging TAB shareholders , most of whom we are sure have no real interest in the welfare of the industry, who want to see the highest returns as quickly as possible (Racing seven days a week is a good example of the shift away from core racing principles).

There of course seems to be a perception that the 50c punter is a dottering old person who takes up too much time. The truth is that some are. The truth is also that a lot of people don't want to throw $20 a time on a horse race because it's just too much money for them e.g. the impoverished student, parents on a budget, the unemployed, the retired. What the 50c minimum does is sustain their interest. And this interest is undeniably passed on to friends and acquaintances, and so the general interest grows. All the new strategy will do is foster horseracing as an activity for high rollers.

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