Racing Symposium: Struggling racetracks in the spotlight on day two

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Struggling racetracks and the question of whether they should focus discretionary spending on the marketing of its simulcast product or on its on-track experience was one of the spotlights on day two of the University of Arizona Global Symposium on Racing and Gaming.

In successive panels held early Wednesday, both views were discussed, with several on the two panels firmly believing that focusing on the simulcast product would be best for many tracks in the country, considering the industry’s “heavy reliance on purse subsidies from casinos.”

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  • Concerned Observer

    No tracks = no racing.

    You can talk about the good old days forever, but when the tracks all go broke…………game over.

    We all better earn to live with and enjoy the reality that most betting is not at the track and most bettors are watching on a small screen many miles away.

    SO WHAT?

    I have never been to a live taping of a TV show…but I have watched and enjoyed thousands of shows. And bought the advertised products to fund TV.

    Please…stop being an impediment to the future..embrace long distance betting.

  • David

    A good point.  When alternative
    gaming subsidies – either via participation or passive – run it course there
    will be little or no reason to own and/or operate a racetrack.  The industry will be left to do a Del Mar,
    Keeneland non profit model; a sort of showroom underwritten by those
    breeding, selling, training, riding, attending to, thoroughbred horses.  Then all those who are inclined to throw
    stones at the carpet-bagging tracks will be putting up shields.  Personally, I want to buy tickets to that
    show.

  • Stanley inman

    Concerned observer;
    I don’t agree with your premise
    about “long distance betting” as central to a tracks business plan;
    While it can boost the bottom line;
    But just look at the last 40 years (1978 IHA)
    Record Of continued decline mostly by
    those tracks which have ignored the
    Ontrack experience,
    Mountaineer, Beulah, …etc.
    Care to meet me
    for a night of racing in Chester w.Virginia this weekend?

  • Stanley inman

    Racing on Monday night or afternoon in January in Ohio
    Speaks more to the business model of tracks
    Who see their only option to be
    Just a gambling emporium for those
    Addicted to gambling.
    They can’t compete with tracks whose business model is
    Sport at highest levels.
    The public understands that
    And looks the other way.
    Why we pretend each is in the
    SPORT?
    (youtellme)

  • Concerned Observer

    Stanley, Yes a great on-track experience is wonderful, and I love the excitment of Friday nights at the races with food and fun and bands etc.

    But day in and day out, the VAST (75%++) majority of the betting revenue in the future will come from off-track sources. Not a belief…aready a reality.

    That is the only revenue that can save the tracks.

  • Stanley inman

    Friday nights (like Churchill) I’m afraid Is not the model
    don’t believe anything tracks say about their bottom line
    They don’t back it up with facts (even attendance figures-what’s that tell you)
    It’s just so much public
    posturing
    To advance their goal of becoming a casino.
    The gullibility of the industry which takes their claim as gospel
    Reveals just how
    retarded we are.
    As a Churchill shareholder and a horsemen their unstated mission
    Not their bottom line
    Leaves me worried about the sport in kentucky

  • David

    Racing needs to combine what quality it now produces with a
    strategy of shrinking back a whole bunch of bad product.  This is not to say you can’t have product
    across the full calendar; it simply means producing sub par gaming to a static
    audience is counterproductive.  The
    problem is that fewer horses would be bred, sold, kept, trained, ridden and
    cared for; in short this business has rebuffed any attempt to bring supply into
    line.  Moreover, it’s total lack of
    leadership, inability to achieve any sort of consensus or initiate reform measures,
    and its pawn role to enact alternative gaming allowances have created the
    perfect storm we have today.  LOL. 

  • LongTimeEconomist

    Stanley, the only reason those tracks were able to stage live racing 50 years ago was that they had a local monopoly on legalized gambling. Now that that monopoly is long gone, the only way they can survive is essentially as betting parlors.

  • LongTimeEconomist

    Stanley, I’ve never been to a Friday night at Churchill, but I’ll bet that it’s like Garden State was when it first reopened in 1985. All the young trendies came out to party and maybe have a bite to eat, but they bet zilch. And after a while, they moved on to some newer trendy Friday night party place.

  • Stanley inman

    So true

  • Stanley inman

    Yep,
    It’s kind of creepy
    all this talk (pandering) to youth
    Like commercials everywhere using children
    To sell something.

  • THE ENFORCER

    THE EXPERTS (?) DID NOT FOCUS ON WHAT MAY HELP RACING– EDUCATING THE RACING CONSUMER..

    A KNOWLEDGEABLE RACING CUSTOMER MAY BE ABLE TO MAKE MORE INTELLIGNET WAGERS AND WANT TO RETURN.. WHAT TRACK IS ACTIVELY OFFERING TO TEACH THE NEW FAN HOW TO READ AND INTERPRET THE PP’S??

    WHO TAUGHT YOU HOW TO READ DRF??..IT TAKES TIME & EFFORT TO LEARN OF THE SPORT..IS ANY USA TRACK STRESSING SATISFYING THE EDUCATIONAL NEEDS OF THE BELUVED CONSUMER??

    THE CONSUMER IS THE KING OF THE MARKET PLACE–NOT THE TRACK OR THE CASINO..

    EDUCATE–EDUCATE–EDUCATE!!!

  • Concerned Observer

    There is another angle.

    Keep the old…educate educate educate to grow a new group of horse players

    BUT

    at the same time develop simple lottery type bets for those that do not want to handicap. Why not get a piece of the $65 Billion bet on lotteries each year?

    We can not get any race track execs or owners interested…why? why not?

    We would rather die than innovate.

    The 2 types of bets can easily coexist.

  • David

    To suggest education on what one is trying to sell implies what
    is being sold is worthy and attractive enough to be welcomed as intended.  Are you sure that’s the case with racing?  Put another way, how ‘bout asking prospective
    customers about the product as it, adapt in order to match that expectation and
    THEN educate, educate, educate?

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