Stuart S. Janney III: Thank you very much, Mike and Dan, for presenting the McKinsey report. It's extraordinarily valuable, I think, to the industry and gives us a lot to work on.
Thank you, Chris, for participating in a very interesting conversation that also is going to be helpful in the future.
I believe that everything we have heard reaffirms the core belief that the integrity of our sport is paramount. It's never been clearer that we're in dire need of a uniform system of regulation, proper drug testing, and meaningful penalties that really deter. The eventual passage of the Horse Racing Integrity Act will accomplish all of that. We've devoted significant resources to that legislation, and we plan to double down on our legislative efforts going forward.
In the meantime, and in keeping with our commitment to be more than just a Thoroughbred registry, we'll be exploring several other wide-ranging initiatives that have been recommended by McKinsey.
None of this is new to us at The Jockey Club. For a long time we've consistently and comprehensively engaged on issues whenever the industry was in need. Whether the startup of Equibase or the NTRA corrective actions in the wake of the totalisator breach, providing funds for critical research and out-of-competition testing, new fan and owner development programs, to name just a few, The Jockey Club has and will be there for this industry.
The Board of Stewards yesterday morning gave our management team the go-ahead to further investigate some additional projects.
Develop plans to consider track ownership and operations. Quite simply, we would willingly step in as an owner, lessor, or partner when a racing resource is imperiled, not unlike what the Jockey Club of the United Kingdom has done.
Develop a capital improvement grant fund for high definition conversion and track improvements. The use of standard definition is inhibiting the growth and popularity of our sport. TVG estimates, as you heard, less than 50% of the 50,000 races shown on their network are in high def. The program would feature grants of up to $150,000 to qualifying tracks for the purchase or long-term lease of HD television and production equipment.
Expand America's Best Racing into a full-fledged digital media services company. Encouraging potential customers to visit racetracks is the most effective method of developing new fans, as you've heard. Working with industry partners, America's Best Racing digital video creation and distribution could engage as many as a million casual fans in one year.
Further invest in live racing on national television. As Dan Singer pointed out earlier, television coverage of our sport is creating new fans and at the same time boosting handle at the host track. We plan to support additional national television programming of top racing.
Fund a permanent office of race day scheduling. We heard a year ago and again today how badly the overlapping of races is hurting our industry. The creation of this office and strict adherence to a schedule by participating racetracks would solve that problem.
Advocate for tracks to experiment with decreased Win/Place/Show takeout rates. This has been a hot button issue for our fans for years, and more than a third of our fans will cite it as a major concern.
Partner to fund a U.S. pilot of single-pool betting. Since 2011, we've been intrigued with single-pool wagering, which would potentially end late odds changes and facilitate new bet types. We'll be working with several industry stakeholders and will seek to introduce a pilot for single-pool wagering in the North American market as soon as we can.
Promote cross-marketing of sports betting and horse race betting. Many bettors who will be trying sports betting for the first time may be inclined to try horse racing as well. This is a golden opportunity to reach millions of fans who are already pre-disposed to wagering.
Finally, lobby for a horse racing fixed-odds betting pilot. Virtually all sports bets are placed with fixed odds, as you heard, and customers are accustomed to it. They want to know the payoff they'll win. Especially in this area of sports betting, shouldn't horse racing be able to offer fixed odds like everyone else?
These are ideas that we think could move our sport forward. We will continue to evaluate them and begin to develop business plans when warranted. As mentioned, we'll look to collaborate as we've often done with industry partners along the way, and we'll keep the industry apprised of our progress.
In closing, I'd just like to thank all of our presenters and all of you who attended or watched today's proceedings. We appreciate your interest and devotion to this sport. Have a great day at the races or wherever you may go. Thank you.