I heard a news clip this week featuring CTL’s Acting CEO whining to Parliament about the recent permission given to Bookies to open all day and sell local races race-by-race.

But, isn’t that the same Parliament who gave this permission, Chris?  What on earth do you expect to achieve by shedding tears there?  A sudden about face?  The truth is that, based on his performance since being appointed to act as CTL CEO, my good friend Christopher has exposed his inexperience in that sort of executive post.  There’s no crying in business, Chris, only action.

It’s time for CTL to appreciate that local racing cannot be protected forever and won’t ever enjoy the easy-to-manage monopoly it used to be able to operate on cruise control when Chris’ Dad was in charge.  Jamaica is now but a speck on the global village and, like it or not, CTL must compete with all and sundry.  A CEO’s job is to devise short, medium and long term strategies to do just that.  This is done by welcoming constructive criticism; consulting with the available expertise; and not expecting government protection from competition.

Chris, CTL will never compete with anyone until the Tote takeout is less than 20%.  This must be your long term goal.  In the short term, you must immediately return the takeout to the 25% at which you found it.  Then you must strategize for the future.  The main reason why you’ll struggle to reduce it further is the high OTB percentages you must pay as well as the high amount of uncollectible receivables permitted from those same sources.  American Totes takeout 14-15% from win, place and show because they have no OTBs except for one or two in New York City.

So, strategic plan Number One – Phase out the OTBs.  They were a good idea in 1990, obsolete 20 years later.  How to do this?  Dismiss the computer dunces that surround you, Chris, and hire a young computer whiz kid who also understands racing.  Your long term plan to reduce the tote takeout to below 20% must involve live races on subscriber cable (so you can charge a sensible “rights fee”) with the ability for subscribers to bet into the Tote using their remote controls.  The technology is widely available, we just prefer to ignore it.  Except for a few high-end operations – no more than 5 island wide, OTBs will be replaceable  when you upgrade your web-site’s security and capability to take bets on the internet and give bettors the ability to watch races live on the internet whenever they place a minimum bet.

By this magic use of modern technology you will virtually eliminate OTB commissions; significantly increase your handle; and force the bookies to make their own books and so to compete for a different clientele all without a single crocodile tear or whimper.

Try it, Chris.  It’s called management.

Good Luck!


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