Step change for World Pools

The rapid growth of the World Pools is to have another significant step change with a new wagering platform that will create World Pools from multiple racecourses in multiple racing jurisdiction a regular feature of world wagering with the additional prospect of massive world-wide exotic bet jackpots.

The Hong Kong Jockey Club has developed a new wagering platform called the  Racing Wagering Information Protocol which allows for bet-by-bet transactions from the different jurisdictions participating in a World Pool creating more stable pools, possible world-wide exotic bet jackpots, World Pools operating without Hong Kong’s liquidity and Pools made up of the leading races around the world on any given race day.

“We will start beginning in May, we have invested heavily in a new technology which we call Racing Wagering Information Protocol where you have everything on one platform,” said Hong Kong Jockey Club Chief Executive Officer Mr Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges recently.

“What I currently think is one of the issues we see even in Hong Kong where we have a lot of (turnover) batches from overseas coming in and we have suddenly at the start (of a race) a jump of the pool by 20% of the win pool (creating a price differentiation not previously apparent to local customers) which our customers do not like.

“When we go to the bet-by-bet transaction protocol you will have seamlessly the bets coming in and therefore you will not have this batches/turnover coming into the pool.

“It will make the win pool and the quinella pool much more stable and you can see much better the trends over the time (of the pool). And it will enable us to have more exotic bet types, which at the moment with the current protocol we cannot do.

“We have now expanded the World Pool concept, we do not have only one meeting we cover, we now have the ability to cover up to 12 races per day, So then you can have three races from either three countries or three racecourses to bring the best product into the co-mingling world,” he said.

Inspiral starts in the Group 1 Lockinge Stakes, picture Liesl King

The world’s leading races continue to be added to the World Pool with, for example, the Group 1 Lockinge Stakes meeting at Newbury this Saturday, plus additional races such as the Eclipse Stakes, Irish Derby, Deutsches Derby, Grosser Preis Bayerisches Zuchtrennen, Durban July, Gold Challenge, Queensland Derby and Stradbroke Handicap all participating over the coming months.

Without doubt the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s innovation in taking co-mingling into the World Pool operation has saved the pari-mutual pool system around the world.

Another consequence was the recent first of an Australian-wide pool via the World Pool, which Engelbrecht-Bresges was delighted about.

“I am extremely satisfied with the result of the World Pool, to see the growth we have in the World Pool is extraordinary and one innovation we had for the first time in April was the whole of Australia betting in one pool, via the World Pool, which I think it is break through,” he said.

“And if you see the impact of the World Pool in Australia, first of all from a turnover perspective, which is extremely satisfying and for an income perspective especially for the racecourses, but more over fixed odds betting have dominated to 70/80% of win bets in Australia and you suddenly see different dynamics.

“You have a value product due to the liquidity, when your real customers can have a real bet. And this is great to see we have been able to revitalise the pool products,” he said.

Romantic Warrior and James McDobald won the Group 1 WS Cox Plate at The Valley with a World Pool operating, picture Liesl King

The figures tell the story of not only the growth of the World Pools turnover, but also the income for the participants.

Hong Kong’s co-mingling turnover, including the World Pools turnover, is around HK$28/29 billion. Not surprisingly Engelbrecht-Bresges is pleased.

“I am really greatly satisfied as to how we are travelling, we look at how much revenue World Pools have created for the participating racecourses. We have grown the (Hong Kong) revenue base from last June of HK$140m to HK$170/180m so this is a significant different income which we would not have had if we had not created this platform,” he said.

The future is almost here with the Racing Wagering Information Protocol platform to allow any racing jurisdiction anywhere in the world to bet into the platform, without or without Hong Kong’s participation, on the best racing of the day.  Effectively a world tote.

The platform will allow for a pool to build in a stable and real time manner and exotic jackpots that could become massive and create world-wide punter interest. Race meetings could commence in Australia and move with the time zones via South Africa to Europe if Hong Kong cannot bet into a particular day due to restrictions on the number of simulcast days they are allowed.

“The next step is the new protocol and we have started discussions with the (Hong Kong) Government to further extend the number of World Pool days we can have,” said Engelbrecht-Bresges.

“We hope that there will be extensions, after the success we have proven and the demand is obviously there, and that we will get approval, but I would not predict when. But our aim is to have all global race meetings on one platform,” he said.

“That would strengthen the whole pari-mutual pool system significantly and create for the industry much better return than what is currently available when you have a domination of fixed odds.

“What we see is that these multiple countries/race cards are very attractive. You want to have more dates to promote this on a regular basis,” he said.

The Newbury meeting on Saturday commences at 10.50pm AEST on Sky Racing1 and from 11.25pm AEST on Sky Racing2.

Race 4 12.35am AEST - Group 1 Shaqab Lockinge Stakes (1600m).