Anne M. Eberhardt

HANA Poll: Players to Reduce Churchill Action

Members of horseplayer group plan to boycott Churchill tracks and services.

A poll of Horseplayers Association of North America (HANA) members revealed that 90.2% of respondents will be withholding either some or all of their dollars from Churchill Downs Inc. racetracks: Churchill Downs, Arlington Park, Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots and Calder Casino & Race Course, as well as wagering platform and past performance provider 

This poll result was announced in a release following the Churchill Downs Inc. decision to increase takeout rates by more than 9% on the win, place, and show pools and almost 16% on exotic pools at its Louisville, Ky. racetrack. The takeout increase was put in place April 26 and will continue for the rest of the meet. 

Churchill increased takeout from 16% to 17.5% on its win, place, and show wagers and from 19% to 22% on its exotic wagers.

Many poll respondents believe other Churchill tracks, and other tracks in general, will follow with takeout increases as 42.8% said Churchill will raise prices at its other tracks, and an additional 48.7% believe other non-Churchill tracks will follow with rate hikes. 

"The board of directors was struck by the anger this past week on social media and our email from rank and file horseplayers, so we commissioned a survey of members." said HANA president Jeff Platt. "The survey confirmed that current HANA membership had a similar discontent and they've urged us to move forward."

Although HANA will be working on partnerships with various groups, an advertising program, and a social media push to increase support for a boycott of all Churchill Downs Inc. properties, the association of more than 2,500 horseplayers believes the success or failure of the effort will lie with customers. 

"Large gaming corporations like Churchill Downs Inc. are extremely well funded, but we do not underestimate the power of an educated customer. We ask customers to share this action with their friends and fellow horseplayers," said Platt.