Keeneland has never shied away from trying new things during it's popular spring and fall meetings. The venerable Kentucky track was one of the first to go to High Definition productions, install Polytrack, and develop mobile betting apps for on-track customers. Today, Keeneland announced that it will become the first track in the country to offer fractional wagering and displayed decimal odds during their 2012 Spring Meet.
Fractional wagering is something you don't hear or read about very often in the industry. With fractional wagering, the minimums still exist, but the bettor can use smaller increments above the minimum. From the Keeneland press release:
Available on all pools—from simple win, place and show bets to complex serial wagers, fractional wagering allows bettors to include more horses in their wagers while keeping the price of the wager affordable. The minimum wager must match the minimum for each individual pool—i.e. ten cents for superfectas, fifty cents for trifectas and pick wagers. For instance, a fan who has $5 to wager could bet a three-horse trifecta box for $4.80—with each possible combination costing only 80 cents. Typically, a $1 trifecta box would cost $6.
As for the decimal odds; we've long since past the times where we have to display odds as fractions. In Europe, decimal odds are the norm and, as a result, it's extremely easy to know exactly how much your wager will return. Keeneland describes the change in today's press release (emphasis added):
This spring, Keeneland is also introducing decimal odds on some in-house televisions. Popular among bettors in Europe and Australasia, decimal odds differ from traditional fixed odds in that they display the actual winning amount that would be paid out to the bettor. Instead of displaying 3/1, the decimal odds will display as $4.
This is something that is clearly a smart move. How many times do you have a non-racing fan ask you how much a bet will pay out on a horse at 9/2? If you are like me, all the time. Just this past weekend while I was in Vegas I was asked how much a win bet would pay out.
The technology exists to display exactly what the payouts are for every bet at the track. Keeneland's move to decimal odds is a move in the right direction.
I'll have a preview of the 2012 Keeneland Spring Meet on Monday.