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No More Bet Night Live

Published: February 19, 2013 10:41 am ET

Last Comment: February 26, 2013 10:03 am ET | 27 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

While the major news coming out of Woodbine Entertainment Group last week dealt with the staff reductions Trot Insider has learned that WEG's TV program Bet Night Live will not be aired in 2013.

In 2010, WEG rebranded its former Race Night On The Score show to Bet Night Live, designed to "introduce new people to the sport and immediately experience the excitement and anticipation of horse racing and the thrill of winning."

Bet Night Live traditionally aired across Canada on The Score through stakes season, Mondays (standardbred) and Wednesdays (thoroughbred) from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

"Included in the cost reductions announced last Wednesday was a significant reduction in our network TV programming," Woodbine CEO Nick Eaves told Trot Insider. "We will still produce the Queen's Plate on CBC and we hope to showcase other major races on network television however the Bet Night Live program has unfortunately been cancelled."

February 26, 2013 - 10:03 amI was not a fan of BNL-

Dave Perkins SAID...

I was not a fan of BNL- however- I never missed a Race Night.
I thought the hosting was better on the original-more knowledgeble and less cutting away to team sport updates.
What I missed was the coverage of the horses and trainers- special segments- paddock interviews- all went a long way in showcasing the level of horses that Ontario has- horses that can take on the world.
By identifying with the horses (and the training of them), they became more like athletes to be interested in- I felt I was betting on something more than a number on a sheet. It was more tangible for me-

February 25, 2013 - 11:43 amIts not the product as you

Roy Steele SAID...

Its not the product as you keep reminding us all.It is apple and oranges Standardbred v Thoroughbred Pen National has improved a lot to the point Woodbine horses go their in the winter. It was at best not so long ago a track for sick horses that couldnt make it anywhere else. Has improved some but as you point out the handle is good. Why? facilites are good for those that do go to the track but marketing and off track wagering for sure.
Funny you never mentioned Western Fair but that would screw your arguement up as they have posted regular $400k and more handles on a wednesday afternoon. not bad for a provincial half mile track. Aqueduct top of the list wow what a suprise in a 14 million people catchment area divide handle by catchment area and see what the figures show. Figures can be presented anyway you want we have found that out with this govt. Bottom line is to be innovative and promote different ways to increase handle. When horses from around the world stop coming to compete then its a reality check untill then we are all in the same boat wether its driving a tractor up the 401 or devising knew methods of income easy to sit back and criticise .... when you have lively hoods on the line u fight the only way you know.

February 25, 2013 - 6:57 amI haven't posted much lately

John Carter SAID...

I haven't posted much lately but for the last 3 to 4 years i have been posting a consistent message calling for the race game to get there act together and to stop taking the customer for granted. I had also consistently pointed out that the sars program was on borrowed time and like it or not the slots programs in the states will someday meet the same fate as it did in ontario. It is not a matter of if it happens but when, as governments plunge further into deficits it is just a matter of time.

The tracks in ontario not only compete with other race tracks but with casinos, online poker, sports betting and i could go on and on. The amount of money gambling today dwarfs what was gambled 30 years ago but the race game because of massive mismanagement has not only not attracted any portion of these dollars, they have seen there handle go into a free fall and have done nothing about it.

I know many thinks the big m is doing great and although Gural deserves credit for the turn around, that track only handles a fraction of what they did 20 to 30 years ago. The race game has never reached out to the next generation of gamblers. When i go to a racetrack it is for the most part all older people.
Where is it going to be in 20 to 30 years time. If you think it is bad now it is going to get much worse unless the race game markets itself better and figures out that it has to get more competitive with other forms of gambling thru reduced takeout. The younger generation of gamblers because of the internet and sharing of information will not put up with 15 to 30% takeouts and anyone who believes they will is part of the problem not the solution.

February 24, 2013 - 11:19 pmThe Meadowlands is in the

Roger Haynos SAID...

The Meadowlands is in the process of transforming its image......it used to be a chalk bettors delight. This year however there are more trifectas that have paid over 5k than the past 6 years combined. This combined with drivers not giving holes is giving bettors a better run for their betting dollar. Woodbine/Mohawk will always be a favorite of mine but at this time I feel better betting on a 25-1 at The Big M than at Woodbine. Jeff Gural has tightened the policies at the Meadowlands......something racing in Canada may need to address a some point. It is staggering that Penn National could out handle the best harness track in Canada considering Penn is a tier 3 thoroughbred track. It would effectively be like Fort Erie handling more than The Meadowlands. Lastly, I live close to Maryland where harness racing is in a sad state. Unfortunately they believed for far too long they were the only game in town and instead of changing and surviving......they died out. Having slots is a bonus but having a superior racing product will keep and sustain a track.

February 24, 2013 - 8:10 pmEnjoyed BNL on Mondays We are

Enjoyed BNL on Mondays We are Albertans, but we had an account and enjoyed the program with the announcers and the quality racing.Now we will have an opportunity to watch some guys beat their brains out on the Score.

February 24, 2013 - 6:40 pmWill and Mike are absolutely

Norm Brunet SAID...

Will and Mike are absolutely right. The product put out by WEG can't compete against other venues. Proof is that Monday nights handle ( $1,606,051) excedes Saturday nights handle ($1,496,518 )and that is with $75,000 less in purses Monday. Big M does it right, lots of movement and action, no holes given or fined by judges. Great show and marketing.

February 23, 2013 - 11:14 amMike Adams makes more sense

ron francis SAID...

Mike Adams makes more sense than horsepeople want to believe. I had the opportunity to be on a Standardbred Canada Gaming panel in 2008. At that time, I suggested there would be a day when the Ontario government came to the conclusion that SAR program was too generous. That day is here, and the government is right. A purse structure that greatly exceeds the race track handle is absurd. The program allowed all parties to be lazy and complacent. Track operators were content to sit back and count the money. The government could have handled the situation better and with more tact and class, but, the bottom line is the bottom line. A 2-3% cut to horseman might have been negotiated. It would make the players more accountable and responsible for the product. I enjoyed Bet Night, but there was no way it would ever attract new horseplayers or fans. Having been in TV and Radio for 30 years, I assume WEG paid all or most of the production costs and with the new racing reality, Bet Night was an unaffordable luxury. And, yes, Ontario racing competes with all tracks on the Intertrack menu.

February 21, 2013 - 8:35 pmAs much as I love Ontario

As much as I love Ontario horse racing I have to agree with mike to some extent. No one watches Ontario horse racing, something had to be done. But look at Flamboro downs, 177, 000 without an once of advertising. Flamboro is in a great location and there is absolutely nothing done to get people to the track and to anyone going there for a first time there is nothing done to get anyone to come back a second time short of them falling in love with the sport itself or developing a gambling problem. But down stairs they have a dj for the slot users on Friday and all kinds of promotions. The fact that flamboro gets any handle what soever is very impressive, I can only imagine what that place could be like if the owners cared. As a racing fan Flamboro has all the pieces to be a world class halfmile track, with the speed, aggressive style and scenery, but for now its wasted slot land.

February 20, 2013 - 10:16 pmIt's a shame, as I watched

It's a shame, as I watched this program whenever possible from Alberta.

February 20, 2013 - 1:57 pmNo Paul I am not an employee

Mike Adams SAID...

No Paul I am not an employee of OLG or The National Post. I am just someone who thinks that racing in Ontario has lost their way. Too much focus on taking in Slot money, racing for big purses and doing nothing to improve the product or attract the bettors across North America.
Now that the SAR program is ending the focus needs to shift away from Slots and focus on creating a viable industry, an industry that the North American bettor wants play. My post has nothing to do with the what the govt decided. That's the point. You need to change racing in Ontario so that you control your own fate. Racing in Ontario was not in control it's existence hinged on Govt politics. It's time to change that thinking. Get competitive and grow handle.

Dude Love: You could not be more wrong. You ARE competing with Penn National, CharlesTown and the The Meadowlands

It's time to fix your own product grow handle and compete. Just like the Meadowlands is doing before you become the next Blackberry swallowed up by Apple and Samsung or in this case beaten CT, Penn National and the Meadowlands.

February 20, 2013 - 11:04 amThank you Mr Adams. I have

Will Yamakva SAID...

Thank you Mr Adams.

I have been saying this all along. Reality is, the purses in Ontario, are similar to that of many tracks in the US, but dont have slots. People are not betting on the Ontario product.

Shows like Bet Night Live, are costly for the Score to produce, and unless the harness people pay to broadcast it, there is no reason for it to be aired.

Curling is more popular than horse racing, because the curling association paid for its product to be on the air. They paid TSN and CBC for many years, then when it turned profits for the networks, they began paying curling associations to televise, and began having big money events.

Bet night live was great for horse racing fans, but it did nothing to lure new fans. The pools on Monday nights are proof as they are pretty much the same as any other night.

February 20, 2013 - 10:24 amUnfortunately your argument

Dude Love SAID...

Unfortunately your argument about Penn National beating out the Woodbine product doesn't fly.
You're comparing a thoroughbred card handle to a standardbred card handle.
We all know that typically t-bred handles out-perform s-bred handles.
When Woodbine t-breds return then compare their handle to Penn National's and talk about the product and who wants to bet on what.

February 20, 2013 - 8:20 amMy response to Mr Adams is

Paul Keith SAID...

My response to Mr Adams is rather than looking at last Saturdays numbers, look at the overall numbers and the impact that the seemingly blind Liberals decision to cut the SAR program will have on the provincial economy. Does the term "couldn't see the forest for the trees" ring a bell? Are you perhaps an employee of the OLG or The National Post?

February 19, 2013 - 7:53 pmLet me guess at the responses

Mike Adams SAID...

Let me guess at the responses in the comments.
Let's blockade the 401
Let's partner with the First Nations
Let's boot the Liberals out of power
This is so unfair.

How about a reality check.

Take a look at the handle numbers across North America this past Saturday:

Aqueduct - $9,267,655
Santa Anita - $12,293,401
Tampa Bay - $4,292,009
Gulfstream - $12,333,352
CharlesTown - $1,085,950
The Meadowlands - $3,565,691
Woodbine - $1,093,587
Flamboro - $177,544
Penn National - $1,149,340

There are lots of other tracks missing and lots of money was bet on North American racing on Saturday.

What was not present was lots of people betting on Ontario racing.

It's time to take a look in the mirror. The product that has been offered in Ontario is not a product that Horse Racing fans want to bet on. Plain and simple.

Everyone complaining should look at these numbers and realize that the real issue here is your product!!!

It's time for the horsemen, track owners and everyone else to stop complaining and start figuring out a way to create a product that people across North America want to bet on.

Woodbine just narrowly out handled CharlesTown but was eclipsed by Penn National. Stop and let that process. Penn National out handles Woodbine on a Saturday. Yes. Say it again....very slowly this time.

THAT Ontario horse racing is your real problem and until you solve that issue all of the rest of this does not matter.

Truly Sad

February 19, 2013 - 6:24 pmThis is something I don't

Darren Smith SAID...

This is something I don't understand, If the purpose of Bet Night Live was to introduce new people to gambling on horses, why would this program be abondoned at a time that increased betting on the horse game is essential for sustainability of this industry? Is this a result of the Liberal government or was the program not fiscially sustainable?

February 19, 2013 - 4:47 pmMonday night at our house

Hugh Woods SAID...

Monday night at our house always meant an early supper so we could spend the next two hours watching the racing. The racing, both standardbreds and thoroughbreds were the best sporting programs on The Score.

February 19, 2013 - 3:54 pmAnother pair of top racing

Dave Nicol SAID...

Another pair of top racing programs that had entertainment written all over them, gone. I know many people that will be disappointed including myself! Well I can now tune in to the Ontario political channel. Wait, I can*t afford a new T.V. and the shoes I*d be throwing at it so I better not! Please, please bring on an election.

February 19, 2013 - 3:52 pmGreat program, I understand

Great program, I understand saving money but given the circumstances there is no way that this should be discontinued. WEG has been granted 2 years to take a run at self-sustainability and the only way to achieve that is to build a fan base. If there are no new viewers, and no new bettors than how can self-sustainability become a reality?

February 19, 2013 - 3:33 pmReally going to miss BNL it

Jerry Zrini SAID...

Really going to miss BNL it made Monday night worth looking forward to and learned a lot about the runners on Wednesdays nights Jim Bannon is the greatest in providing knowledgeable info and teaching the lost art of handicapping

February 19, 2013 - 3:11 pmWhen the next election comes

When the next election comes to the province of Ontario, this member of the horse community plans to work diligently to ensure that the member of the Liberal party does not get elected in this riding. I plan on going door to door armed with as much information as I can carry as to why this party of Liberals should not get elected. Sincerely Bruce T. Winning.

February 19, 2013 - 2:17 pmVery sad. I used to look

Very sad. I used to look forward to Monday and Wednesday nights on the Score.

February 19, 2013 - 2:07 pmWEG has fired another cannon

karen pappin SAID...

WEG has fired another cannon shot back at the OLG modernization strategy. Now if all the other tracks would follow suit things may change. Also host municiplaities should in my view follow the Hamilton/Flamboro lead motion this past week, this is called "community capacity building" the more capacity the better the results!
Check out this link the poll at the end of this Ottawa Sun article. The popular vote appears to support Rideau Carleton raceway as the Casino location for Ottawa. When the people speak in one voice the politicos usually listen they don't have a choice.

February 19, 2013 - 1:22 pmI looked forward to watching

Randy Young SAID...

I looked forward to watching Bet Night Live as well. That and College Basketball were about all that I ever watched on the Score - other than to check sports scores in general. It seems now like all they ever show is (fake) wrestling. I guess it goes well with our "fake" Liberal government.

February 19, 2013 - 1:04 pmI don't think that I missed

Rick Karper SAID...

I don't think that I missed an episode of Race Night on the Score or Bet Night Live on Monday nights in the last several years, whether live or recorded. The only broadcaster in my area (Montreal) that carries HPI is Bell Expressvu. Unfortunately, my condo association does not permit satellite dishes. I miss Bet Night Live.

February 19, 2013 - 12:56 pmI used to really enjoy

I used to really enjoy watching the show Race Night on the Score. Thank you Fiberals for screwing everything up

February 19, 2013 - 12:22 pmAnother unbelievable

Another unbelievable event..Bet night live with its quirky hosts was an informative and insightful look into our industry It made racing at Woodbine front and center to the television audience and opened lots of new people to the racing game.

February 19, 2013 - 11:49 amThank you Liberal government

Paul Keith SAID...

Thank you Liberal government and OLG! Bet Night Live was an excellent program that I looked forward to watching Monday nights. It really helped connect harness racing participants and fans from coast to coast.


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