Power Cap

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20 January 2009

Customer Service Improvements At Aqueduct

Can you think of a group that is more filled with lament than horseplayers? These people are angry and they will give you dozens of reasons to justify that anger. They have the nose beats on the wire, questionable DQ's that cost them a fortune, jockey error, mutuel clerk error, tracks ignoring their concern and high takeout. With all of this adversity it is easy for a horseplayer to justify a foul mood. Find a horseplayer within his domain at the track and a complain session can break out and any moment. This is why it is important for tracks to look like they care and to stroke their patrons. It looks like NYRA is on the right track with the introduction of the new VIP club for players that bet a modest amount. After years of disconnect between management and the patrons, slowly a relation is building between NYRA and its patrons.


Opening a VIP club at a New York race track is not as easy as it looks. NYRA had proposed this VIP club within the track years ago but the NYSRWB blocked it over and over again to protect the government interests at OTB. Now that the club has finally been approved it is a step in the right direction for racetrack customer service. This shows that NYRA cares about customer service and is willing to fight against government corruption to ensure that it is taking care of their customers.

As someone that bets a modest $1000 a month on a NYRA rewards account I am eligible to be part of the club. This makes me feel good about going to the track. When I bring a non-tracky friend that has not been to Aqueduct he/she may now get the impression that the track is a place where they will take care of you and thay might even be under the false impression that powercap is an important big-shot. Horseplayers relish feeling like a big-shot, big-wig or big-cheese. This whole game of picking winners is a exercise in ego and stroking the ego is something that the track must try to do as much as possible for its patrons. For the track to expand its business the players must associalte the racetrack with their ego and how great they are at picking winners. NYRA has found a way to stroke everyones ego in a very economical way.

Back in the old days(spring 2008 and earlier) the VIP room the "Sunny Jim room" was a simulcast area with dozens of TV and chairs where you can watch every race from Boston to California. The Sunny Jim did not have a unique role in the facility it was just like any other area where anyone could watch a race. The modest improvements NYRA has made to the room is a new floor, new decor, a free continental breakfast buffet and dozens of workstations where the players have their own dedicated monitor/wagering terminal. With just modest improvements and a host controlling access NYRA has created the best place to play horses in the area. It is comfortable, you can drink all the coffee you can handle and there is a TV in front of you that allows bets up to when the latch pops on any race in the country.


Any racing wagering facility should work on something like this to take care of their repeat customers. While other sports leagues are draining their customers with high ticket prices, there is a window of opportunity for racing to separate itself as a sport that cares for their patrons. Being considered a VIP is a validating experience that makes the horseplayer feel good about his handicapping and will even make losing a positive experience. Making horseplayers feel good will increase the likelihood that new horseplayers are recruited to the ranks and the game grows. Vegas has played this game for decades it is time for racing to get into the customer stroking game. In an industry where the participants are increasingly fighting for a bigger piece of a smaller pie it is vital that someone is growing the pie. NYRA is attempting to grow the pie. Most people that become a member of the NYRA VIP room will be inclined to become dedicated NYRA rewards horseplayers. This is the edge that the brick and mortar joints should exploit. Internet ADW's can not set up a VIP room in their patrons homes. A racetrack can do a physical stroking while the ADW is a distant entity far away. There are lights at the end of the racing tunnel.


SaratogaSpa said...

Thanks for the info. and photos. What is the minimum amount you need to bet a month on your NYRA rewards account to be eligible for the VIP room?

Anonymous said...

I was told the minimum is$1500 per quarter.

Unknown said...

That room was in limbo for quite a while and it's good to see it fully operational now.
It's the kind of treatment ALL players deserve. I got a 'temporary' card and was told that the permanent one would be mailed in a few months. I didn't ask about minimum account betting, but my play is between 2500 and 3500 hundred per month since I got the rewards card a few years ago. Why the long wait for a permanent card? The guys that I know in there are pretty heavy hitters...make me look like a tourist.

Anonymous said...

They're building a VIP Room at Saratoga on the backside of the Carosel restraunt located on the second floor just inside the clubhouse. I believe the minimun churn will be quite higher for access. Haven't heard of any amenities like down state.