ProPick Racing ( has one of the most creative and innovative business concepts in a long time for attracting new fans to horse-race wagering.   The esoteric nature of handicapping can be a real barrier to neophytes.   ProPick Racing takes much of this intimidation factor away.   Additionally, ProPick Racing may appeal to some experienced handicappers who like to wager but who do not have the time or inclination to thoroughly analyze races.

The ProPick Racing website is easy to navigate and is replete with information and insights from expert handicappers.

Following is an interview with ProPick Racing that explains its business concept and provides some details about the company.

HRB:   How would you describe ProPick Racing?

PPR:   ProPick Racing’s professional industry analysts evaluate horse races and post the best wagering opportunities on our website.   The site is tailored for novices and newcomers to Internet wagering on horses and utilizes many non-traditional marketing concepts to attract new players to an old sport.   The concept has been deployed on kiosks for installation in bars and wherever pari-mutuel account wagering laws permit.

HRB:   When did ProPick Racing begin to offer its services online?

PPR:   Our initial soft launch was in December, 2008.   Our actual launch date was in March, 2009.

HRB:   In what city and state is ProPick Racing headquartered?

PPR:   Las Vegas, NV.

HRB:   Is ProPick Racing’s hub in Oregon?

PPR:   Yes, we use the Amtote Hub in affiliation with US Off-Track.

HRB:   What is ProPick Racing’s value proposition and how is it different from other advance deposit wagering (ADW) companies?

PPR:   ProPick Racing believes that winning encourages education, a complete reversal of the industry paradigm of education first.   Unfortunately, in the sport of horse racing, education can become very expensive.   By reversing the model, a novice can enjoy all of the excitement with a reasonable entertainment budget.

While other ADW’s focus on the experienced player, ProPick Racing believes that since it takes time to develop the skills necessary to place a winning wager, education actually becomes a barrier to new player acquisition.   We cater to this less experienced audience who may enjoy the beauty and action of the sport but may not have developed the skill set.   We offer expert advice from handicappers with proven results.   Our goal is to help people win, and then the experience of winning will increase their desire to learn more and participate more actively in the sport.   The more a player learns about the sport, the more enjoyment he or she will derive.

HRB:   Who conceived the value proposition?

PPR:   Tony Fontaine (the president of ProPick Racing).

HRB:   What is Mr. Fontaine’s career background?

PPR:   Mr. Fontaine received the Internet Innovator of the Year Award at the 3rd Annual Symposium on Internet Gambling Law and Management, the ‘Most Innovative Product Award’ from the River City Group, and most recently received William Shatner’s ‘Heartbeat of America Award’ for entrepreneurialism.

As an executive consultant specializing in Casino gaming, class II, his pari-mutuel race and sportsbook clients have included IGT, the Nevada Pari-Mutuel Association, Las Vegas Gaming and Scientific Games.

Prior to this, Mr. Fontaine was the Vice-President of Interactive Gaming for Station Casinos Inc.   He was responsible for development and implementation of a comprehensive online and interactive gaming strategy for the corporation.   In addition to managing the development of web-enabled casino, race, and sports-based products, Mr. Fontaine formed GameCast Live, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Station Casinos focused on live gaming applications for slots and table games over intranets and the Internet.

Previously, he was Vice-President of Applied Technologies for Alliance/Bally Gaming.   In this role, his exclusive charter was to pursue new delivery media for gaming; including server-based gaming applications and the use of Internet, intranets and closed-loop subscriber-based delivery systems.

Mr. Fontaine has over 30 years experience in marketing, sales, and engineering for high-technology companies, including Motorola, QMS/Imagen, SRS Imaging and Sun Microsystems.   He has spoken extensively around the world at seminars and conferences, including special technology seminars for the Nevada State Gaming Control Board.

HRB:   Is ProPick Racing’s profit model the same as for other ADWs that are compensated by the racetracks when wagers are placed with them?

PPR:   Yes, we never charge for picks or educational classes.   Information should be free if we want to attract a new market.   We just have to be smart enough to live with and succeed with the same low margins as other ADWs.

HRB:   Your analysts–Gary Brower, Mike DeAngelo, Richard Eng, Steve Klein, Kristin Sadler, Steve Schwartz, and Gary Smith–include some well-know handicappers.

PPR:   All of them are horse-racing professionals, many of whom have written books or articles for various horse racing publications.   We put a brief bio of each handicapper online.   We also publish the results of every pick they make, win or lose.

HRB:   ProPick Racing is privately held.   Is the intention to eventually do an initial public offering?

PPR:   This is a difficult time for the horse-racing industry.   There is public confusion about online gaming and complex restrictions on content placed on regulated operators by the industry itself that only add to the confusion.   Until there is more of a unification of purpose and acceptance of new ideas in the horse-racing world, it is premature to even speculate about the future of horse racing, let alone ProPick Racing.

HRB:   Yours is certainly a unique approach.    Moreover, it takes a company very confident about the quality of its handicappers to be so transparent about their wins and losses.   Thank you for your insights.

ProPick Racing has great potential to recruit new fans to pari-mutuel wagering on horse racing.  

Copyright © 2009 Horse Racing Business


  1. Are we journalists or PR people? I would have loved an evaluation of the site, along the lines of what david Pogue does in the NY Times.

  2. I would like to see an evaluation as well. We post every result of every pick that we make. But more importantly to your comment, it would be great for us to have someone really look into our site to see if we are conveying our message: Winning encourages involvement. In our opinion what the sport needs is more involvement by new and lapsed fans.

    Any ideas how we go about this kind of review from an impartial reviewer?

  3. I clicked through to Steve Zorn’s (comment 1) website. He promotes his racing partnerships on his blog. That’s PR.

  4. Why aren’t you accpting new accounts?