As we have seen with this week's announcement that Suffolk Downs will be closing since the decision of Massachusetts' gaming site selection committee to give the regions gaming license to a competitor, many tracks which don't have alternative gaming are holding on to the prospect of receiving a license to keep them open. It also shows the commitment to horse racing in many cases is, well, zero.
Those tracks who have slots are not out of the woods either. With New York State due to select casino sites within the next couple of months, it is conceivable the selection of a non-racetrack site could spell the eventual demise of several tracks as the competition potentially will take enough business away from the slot parlors to make these racinos collapse as a result of not being able to support their debt service and operating expenses.
Meanwhile, horsemen and racetracks elsewhere are enjoying the benefits of slots, looking behind their backs, wondering when the eventual assault to decouple racing from alternative gambling will begin. They try not to think about it, but it's there in the back of their minds. Other tracks in states without alternative gaming such as Illinois are praying their turn will come but realize the odds are long.
What do all these scenarios have in common? A dependence on alternative gaming, be it hope or actuality. This is not the way an industry should operate and one must wonder how racing got to this point. The Boston Globe in an editorial says it best: