They and Them

There are two perks that matter most to horse player gamblers. They're not single mothers or fathers of two, in too short shorts, slinging cocktails. They're not cheap or free drinks. They're not free tickets to see Wayne Newton's uncle. Wait. That could be Wayne himself after all these years. The perks gamblers care about are not discounted or free rooms, free golf, easy credit, limo service at a snap, or books upon books of coupons good for 15 percent off everything in Vegas.

What matters to horse player gamblers are free money and respectful service.

And the number one perk has come to horse racing in high style: They're giving away free money all over the place with relatively minor stipulations -- to get $200 in cash on the Daily Racing Form's plan, all you have to do is put $200 in play in a one month period. That's right, bet $200 a month, not $200 an hour: Betting an average of $7 per day will earn you the two bills, just like you found it on the sidewalk. Bet $200 to show on the best horse you can find, and a month later, $200 more will be in your account.

Rewarding people who put money in play is a casino staple. Which is easier, breaking even with $200 worth of action on horse racing, blackjack, or dice? It depends on the player. Where could you win the most with a $200 stake? Same answer. But horse racing is more fun.

Anybody concerned about empty grandstands should have something to say about mainstays of the industry like the DRF encouraging people to stay away from the races. Actually, the Form isn't exactly saying stay away from the grand old tracks, it is simply saying bet with us through the Xpressbet service. So you could take your laptop to the live races and bet on the computer, stirring the economy with beer and popcorn pittance money.

It is sometimes off-putting to read preachy stuff about the demise of on-site attendance from somebody whose financial interests are served by the abandonment of the live racing experience. It must be awkward to write off such things with conflicting editorial vibes. But what are you going to do when money is scattered. You have to chase it, lure it. Online wagering services are in effect simulcast venues of the most convenient variety.

Being given money to bet can be taken as something of an insult.

True, the giver is making money off a commission of the wagers made, whether you win or lose.

Here's what the people giving you the $100 or $200 think: You won't quit.

They figure there's no way you'll stop after putting the minimum monthly requirement in play. They know it's nearly impossibly to stay off the online site when you're ahead. And there's only one way to get losses back.

Here's what's most enjoyable about playing on somebody else's money.


Stay ahead and you've beaten somebody, you can even pretend it's "them."

Write to Jay at jaycronley@yahoo.com.