Big Gamble: Could Betting Bonus Add To Participation Attraction For Racing Competitors?

Casino ChipsEvery year across the country, millions are attracted to a litany of forms of gambling in this country, from casinos, to poker rooms, to dog tracks and horse racing and even state run lotteries.

The attraction in the simplest form is the potential chance to win big.

In every form of gambling, whether it’s pulling the arm on a slot machine to putting down at trifecta for the Kentucky Derby, ultimately the people that get paid off by winning are getting paid because so many others have played and lost.

Could that same gambler’s spirit architecture of paying off be an answer to stale purses across the gamut of short track racing?

It’s an interesting concept (and this is one of the ideas that comes out when you spend a little too much time talking to Ryan Preece when there’s a lot of down time at the racetrack).

For most racing events, ultimately, the purse is paid in large part based on the revenue brought in by spectators and competitors.

But what if there was a system for certain events where races could actually directly put up their own money to supplant purses and add an extra wrinkle of drama to the festivities?

So here’s the plan. You have the Go Fast 200 Open Modified race scheduled over at Your Name Here Speedway. Now, the purse money paid for each finishing position is posted as a set amount for the Go Fast 200 and also made clear is any lap money or additional special monetary awards on the line.

Now, here’s where teams can beef up what they’re racing for in the Go Fast 200, by their choice.

Every team in the field has the option of adding $500 to the “Bonus Purse” through an optional additional “optional entry fee”. The “Bonus Purse” is clearly set and advertised as an additional purse up being competed for by teams that are interested in participating for the chance to collect it.

Each team that pays the additional “optional entry fee” is then in the running to win the “Bonus Purse”. If five teams join in, the bonus purse is $2,500. Get 10 to play and it’s a cool $5,000.

And it’s a winner take all proposition. The driver in the “Bonus Purse” field that finishes the highest in the race takes the whole bag of cash.

The track involved oversees the paying of the “optional entry fee” and holds the cash until a winner is decided and the track takes zero cut from the plan.

It’s kind of a “Put your money where your mouth is” sort of deal. You say you’re there to win the race? You’re confident you can do it? Then make it payoff real big time.

Now mind you, we have no idea if this idea would be called out by state officials in any sort of race track jurisdiction as illegal gambling. We think how the rules of participation are written could go a long way in getting around it being actually called gambling by some watchdog officials ready to ruin all the fun.

Realistically, on a smaller sense, teams are essentially already racing to win back their admission costs they paid to get into the track each week. So the “Bonus Purse” is just kind of that on a larger scale with no racetrack middleman cutting a check from out of the night’s gate take.

And think about the added drama it could add to an event when fans know there’s a major bonus on the line and not all the drivers are involved. Let’s say it’s an event coming to the checkered and first through third in the running order didn’t get into the “Bonus Purse” action, but the two cars running fourth and fifth did. Think of that action on the track?

And it’s a system that could be tiered to work in any sort of division running at a short track, from a touring series, to an open show, to the entry level. There’s no reason why you couldn’t have a format where Mini Stock teams put $50 into the “Bonus Purse” on a special night or Late Model teams add $150 on a given night.

Ultimately, the theater that is drama is what puts fans in the stands. This would be one more wrinkle of drama for those watching and the opportunity for race teams to race for more money, something all are seemingly always asking to do.

Everybody wins (except for the guys that put up the money and finish second or worse) and it doesn’t cost the fans or the race track another penny.

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  1. I have posted a similar thing for time trials on this site before – each team that thinks they can post fastest time ponies up $100 and fastest time wins all…. very good idea – on another note how come these ct tracks don’t have 50 50 raffles? every dirt track i visit and car show has one, Fonda paid out $1000 last saturday nite – another good way to up the purse and fans are happy

  2. Stuart Fearn says

    the track doesn’t get a cut in this scenario so I don’t see it getting promoted too much. That being said, it would only be smart for the added interest! Of course the tax man would want to get involved… I’d say this would have to be a cash only deal run by one person in the division.

    I’ll volunteer to run it for the Dare Stock division at Stafford. $20 entry from the entire field would over triple the winner’s check

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