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Horse Racing Roulette: A License to Print Money?
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 12, 2019
by: Rich Bieglmeier
The Stronach Group (TSG), owners of thoroughbred racetracks Santa Anita, Gulfstream Park, Golden Gate Fields and Portland Meadows, infused one of the most popular casino games into the horse racing world: Roulette.
The new bet was introduced on Opening Day, December 26, 2018, at Santa Anita and is also available at Gulfstream Park. So far, the new bet has received mixed reviews. Some love it and others hate it depending on perspective. Many old-timers, traditionalists, are sour on it while the inexperienced seem to be OK with it.
For those who are unfamiliar with Horse Racing Roulette, here is how it works:
- Two-dollar minimum win wager.
- Horses (minimum six-horse field) will be placed into one of three groups: Red, Black or Green.
- In most cases, the morning line favorite will be part of the Red Group.
- The Green Group will be comprised mainly of longshots.
- The three Groups, in most cases, will not have an equal number of horses.
- Whichever Group contains the race winner, wins that "game" of Horse Racing Roulette.
In the event that ALL betting interest members of any group are scratched or declared non-starters, betting on the Group Bet pool will be stopped immediately and all Roulette wagers made on this particular race will be refunded.
In the event of a dead heat for first between two or more divergent Group members, the Group Bet pool will be distributed as a profit split (place pool) or, if there is a triple dead heat with as many Group interests, the pool will also be distributed as a profit split (show pool).
Intrigued by the bet, we took a look at Sunday, February 10, 2019's Horse Racing Roulette results to evaluate how to play roulette to your advantage, if possible.
Before we move on to our results, horseplayers need to know that the roulette wager is only available at Santa Anita and Gulfstream. You can bet it at Santa Anita or Gulfstream if you are at the track or online it is available at Xpressbet.com and DRF via bets.drf.com.
We inquired with all the major horse racing wagering sites and it seems like the rest are waiting to see if Horse Racing Roulette catches fire in popularity before adding it to their betting roster.
A few quick basics, the red horse group usually starts at 4/5 odds, the black group at 6/5 odds, and the green group from 8-1 to 12-1, at least during Santa Anita's and Gulfstream's Sunday races. The odds change according to the roulette money pool, just like any other win bet.
Let's take a look at Sunday's Horse Racing Roulette's results to see how to make the best use of this new wager.
Black was the color of choice at Gulfstream, coming in eight of 12 races. The lowest black payout was $2.60 (2-5 odds), the highest payout was $7.40 (5/2 odds), and the average payout for the black bets was $4.30 (6/5 odds).
While the payouts are small, mathematically black was a great bet on Sunday at Gulfstream Park. The equivalent odds of a 66.7% winner, eight of 12 races, is 1 to 2, but the average payout was about 6/5, which works out to a 45.5% chance to win. Something that wins at 1/2 odds pays $3.00, but the average payout was $4.30, a $1.30 bonus or a 43% premium.
Although it is a small sample size, if the 66.75% winning rate were to hold true at roughly 6/5 odds, that's a license to print money.
The Horse Racing Roulette bet was only available in five of nine races at Santa Anita. Red was the dominant color at the Southern California track, hitting the board four of five (80%) times. The lowest red payout was $3.40 (3/5 odds), the highest $5.80 (9/5 odds) with an average of $4.15 (1-1 odds).
Red was a great bet at Santa Anita too on Sunday. The corresponding odds for something that wins at 80% is 1 to 4, but the average payout was 1 to 1. Again, five races are a very small sample size, but if the ratios remained the same going forward, it's too a license to print money. One to four odds should pay around $2.30, but it paid $4.15 on Sunday, a premium of $1.85 or 80% above what an 80% winner should pay.
Some observations based on Sunday's outcomes:
Gulfstream typically has bigger fields than Santa Anita, which might be why black was the better bet as it usually holds more horses than red. Whereas, Santa Anita's fields tend to be smaller; so, the favorites have a better chance to win, hence red.
In fact, the average field size for all the black winners across both tracks was 9.22 horses. Meanwhile, the average red field size was 7.57 horses.
Green was an awful bet. It hit once out of 17 races and paid just $6.00. You would need odds of 16-1 to breakeven winning one of 17 bets (2x17 = $34). Six bucks is just 2-1. That's a path to bankruptcy.
We'll keep an eye on Horse Racing Roulette bets for the next couple of weeks and follow up with more numbers to see if our field size theory plays out. If it does, then Horse Racing Roulette is a good bet for horseplayers of all experience levels. Should this new wager become more popular and prevalent, we will look at adding our recommended play to our tipsheets.
This combined with the new Equilottery
means more ways for the general public to easily get more involved with horse racing and that can only be good for the sport.
Have a blessed day and good luck at the races.
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