Its the big harness track owners who have to come up with the advertising money because its in their interest and their responsibility to promote their respective tracks and not the drivers or the trainers or the grooms who work for the industry.
The above quote comes from a discussion board and is in response to a comment from another individual who suggested perhaps drivers should give up 1% of their 5% commission to help pay for an advertising campaign for harness racing. While I would not suggest the driver gives up a percentage of their commission towards an advertising campaign, I would suggest a portion of the slot revenue horsemen receive be used towards improving the game be it advertising, reduction of the takeout or other method instead of going directly to purses so this response could have applied to me.
This response is one of the reasons why harness racing is in deep trouble. This attitude of 'let the other person spend money' is an example of denial as to how bad things are. You would think this person was dealing from a position of strength. The ideal thing would be horsemen and racetrack owners would equally finance a campaign to get people interested in racing. Unfortunately, we are not dealing with the ideal. We are dealing with reality.
The racetracks are in the drivers seat.
Let's use Harrah's as an example since they own Chester Downs. Harrah's refuses to promote harness racing and for this discussion, the horsemen refuse to contribute any of their slot revenue to help improve interest in racing as they feel it's management's responsibility to do so as the person who I quoted suggests. What happens? Interest in racing continues to drop, the state eventually decides giving horsemen a share of the slot revenue is foolish and they cut it out. Purses drop dramatically, horsemen leave the state and eventually racing is stopped or racing dates are cut dramatically. Chester Downs becomes more profitable to Harrah's. Who is hurt, the racetracks or the horsemen?
But wait! Harrah's needs the horsemen because if they don't race. they can't have the slots, right? Well, try that boycott and see how quick the state makes them close the slots. Don't hold your breath because if you think the state is going to cut their revenue stream you are really in denial. The state will either not enforce that rule, will interpret the rule in a way it suits them or they will change the law accordingly.
So let's wait for the racinos spend money on promoting racing. In the meanwhile, horsemen should squirrel their slot revenue away so they have money available to them when they try to come up with a new trade once racing is gone. Or horsemen can give up part of their slot revenue and maybe, just maybe, there will be a future in harness racing.
At times reality bites. Being in denial doesn't make it better.