PTP has an episode of "You Was There" when Ray Kroc turned down the idea of charging people to see his restaurants' menu. Stupid idea isn't it? Yet we charge horseplayers to get a program to see who is racing as well as their past performance lines. What happens? Less wagering.
There was one track which used to make their past performance programs available and as a result, I used to make a few wagers on their card each night. Then someone came in and stopped them and since then, I haven't wagered a nickel on that track. I guess you could say with regards to that track, I was an impulse gambler. Why don't I buy a program for that track and make my wagers? As a recreational gambler, I am not about to buy a program to make possibly two or three wagers; I'll make my wagers one track and play those races.
Standardbred Canada and the greyhound industry partially get it. They may charge you for a program if you walk into the track and get a program but if you are willing to use your own ink and paper, you can download a program from the Internet for free. Yes, they are the traditional basic programs but at least you are giving your customers something to use.
I understand why American harness tracks aren't allowed to regularly make their programs available online for free, but quite honestly that position is going to have to change and deep down, they know it. After all, why else are race pages for Strategic Wagering events available for free?
I am not saying put your DRF or Trackmaster programs online without charging; put the basic no-frills program online. The people who want speed and class ratings, individual quarters for each horse, a horses's record at a particular track and other information will still buy those programs but at least those impulse gamblers will have something to look at and make some wagers.