The Standardbred Alliance in Ontario shows all-source wagering on harness racing increased to $288,862,555, an increase of 16.76% for the year 2014. As important as the overall increase was, the handle per race increased over 9%.
How did the Alliance manage such a positive effect? With WEG in the forefront, a common delivery system was developed. Betting machines were standardized throughout the province so those betting at different tracks had a common interface. Another key to their success was a racing schedule which minimized the conflict in schedules. By minimizing the overlapping of racing schedules, there is less competition for the wagering dollar between tracks which allows for greater handles at each track, offering wagering opportunities at the smaller tracks for gamblers where they didn't exist in the past. As an example, in Ontario this past Saturday there were only two harness track racing, Woodbine and Flamboro where in the past more tracks may have operated.
When it comes to wagering, more is less; less wagering allows for greater wagering opportunities. American harness tracks need to realize less racing is better as well. The demand for the product doesn't need as many tracks operating at the same time. The problem is schedules are set by racing commissions for the benefit of the home state, not a national policy. Until a national policy is developed, racing will continue to struggle.
The Meadowlands has reached the part of the schedule where they race three days a year and this Thursday, the premiere of Thursday racing begins with four divisions of the Super Bowl for young trotters. We will see if any of these trotters stand out and become prominent during the entire season.
Congratulations to Corey Callahan on his 4,0000th career victory which came yesterday at Dover Downs. Corey is one of the shining stars in the industry. There will be many more victories coming in his career.