Tim Brannan: Fan education key to the future
Tim Brannan writes at America’s Best Racing about his experience teaching fans to bet at this year’s Preakness. For the last three years, the Maryland Jockey Club has set up a tent in the infield with betting experts available to answer questions about betting. Brannan talks about the people he talked to of all ages and backgrounds and how they kept coming back to ask more questions and to keep betting. More importantly, he writes, the number of people visiting the tent has grown every year and the handle at the nearby betting pavilion has increased every year since the beginning of the education tent.
Brannan writes: “As the day continued, I came across risk takers, sorority girls, young professionals and people from all walks of life. With each race, our tent filled. Every person I taught stuck around to bet the next race and get my take. Our cameraman recorded testimonials from people who had never bet before because they were ‘too intimidated’ or they ‘just didn’t know what to do.’ This nervousness or lack of confidence in knowing the sport is what has kept future customers from engaging in the game.
“I was approached by people with open minds, who were eager to learn and just wanted to have fun. For some, they may have placed an uneducated bet, lost and never come back. In this scenario, the horse racing industry would have failed them. The future of our sport will not be guaranteed by adding casinos or slot machines; we must make a concerted effort to connect with and instill confidence in those wanting to participate in our product.”