Pennsylvania racetracks saw an increase in handle in 2017 as compared to 2016, but a decrease in attendance. Officials are hoping some new marketing campaigns can change that.
The Tribune-Review reports that The Pennsylvania Equine Coalition is using a portion of expanded gaming revenue to work with Harrisburg advertising agency Pavone on a campaign to remove the “intimidation factor” for racing newcomers.
The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association is trying to get more people through the door of the racetrack through sponsorships with the Pennsylvania Penguins in addition to wraparound ads on buses.
Some horsemen have an optimistic outlook for the sport's future after last year's gaming expansion bill made part of slots revenues part of a “trust fund” for racing, which should be protected from diversion to other parts of the state budget.
However, others have concern about the impact sports betting could have on the outlook for wagering on horse racing.
“Sports betting is a mental decision, whereas slots are ‘push-a-button,'” said Kim Hankins, executive director of the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association. “Horse racing is also a mental decision; you have to put some thought into it. … We don't know how they're going to apply (sports betting) in the commonwealth; if it's just allowed at a racetrack, it could offset some of what we'd lose in revenues.”
Read more at Trib Live
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article omitted the fact that it was the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association trying to get more people to attend live racing.
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