TABCORP has gambled with its loyal followers and lost, bowing to public pressure to reinstate a larger print betting card after an outcry from punters unable to read the new, smaller version.
The TAB, once a source of pleasure for punters, morphed into a place of frustration since the introduction of the smaller type betting cards late last year.
Longtime Warrnambool race enthusiasts Ray Stokes, Kevin Fogarty and Leo Gleeson said it had taken the enjoyment out of their favourite pastime, making it difficult to read the options they used to place their bets.
Mr Stokes said the new cards caused frustration and delays at TABs as punters either gave up betting or struggled to select their options.
He said it had created headaches for punters and TAB staff alike, as mistakes were made and tickets cancelled, resulting in longer waiting times as staff rectified mistakes.
The Standard estimated the text on the card was reduced from nine point type (similar to a newsprint size) to six point text, which was a challenging size for any age to read.
The new cards incorporated running double, daily double, quadrella and big six betting options on the one card, instead of having individual cards for each option, thus reducing the type size to fit the options onto the one card. Although the details on the win and place cards were unchanged, its type was also downsized.
The Warrnambool punters could not understand why the new look cards were introduced, saving neither time nor paper.
“It is a bit stupid having them on the one card when you can only place one bet per card anyway,” Mr Stokes said.
Mr Fogarty has been betting for more than 40 years and places at least one bet per day.
“It is like everything else in this country. The ordinary people in this country don’t get a say,” he said.
“This was just automatically changed. All the ordinary punters in Victoria weren’t even told.”
Tabcorp group corporate affairs general manager Nicholas Tzaferis said late yesterday the new betting cards would be replaced with the original easier-to-read cards. “New betting cards were introduced in TAB retail outlets late last year to coincide with the launch of the new TAB brand,” he said.
“However, we have listened to feedback from customers regarding the font and box size on those cards and are now reverting to their original format. The win and place cards have already been replaced and other cards are being changed progressively.”