Let's face it, to the experienced bettor, there is little reason to attend the races at most racetracks. A lot of racino tracks are built for the casino player in mind with little regard to the horseplayer. ADWs offer rebates while the majority of tracks offer little financial incentive to wager on track and for the player who wagers on multiple tracks at the same time, nothing beats sitting in front of your own computer to control the signal you want to see at what time.
Some people claim we need to get these players back to the track and while it is an admirable goal, the fact is it may be a fool's effort to get them to show up except for a special occasion. Tracks would be wise to invest the money they would spend on getting the old bettors back and use this money to form their own ADWs to get a larger share of the revenue which they are losing to existing ADWs.
So what should tracks do if they stop trying to get back the long time horseplayer? Should they just close their grandstand/clubhouse and race for those wagering through ADWs and the Internet? I would say no; it is time to use their facilities to attract new handicappers and possibly make their facilities a profit center.
One way tracks can try to attract new fans and gamblers is to adopt the festival model which is used successfully down in Australasia. Take the upcoming festival at the Roxburgh Trotting Club. The track goes all out to put on an event for adults and children for a day at the races so there is something for everyone, people willing to pay an admission fee to enjoy the day at the races. The one difference would be whereas meetings in Australasia are a racing day, North American tracks tend to be open for extended periods of time so it would make sense to have festivals for a week or two at a time. With a festival set up, tracks would not only be introducing people to horse racing, they will bring in income to help the bottom line.