In a Hootbeat Blog Column, Carol Hodes talks about how nice it would have been to have an undo button to correct some of the mistakes made by racing regards the Casinos. This one statement pretty much sums up her arguments:
As a fan of horse racing, I would like to go back to the 1970s and 1980s and undo the lotteries and casinos that chipped away at our business and sucked in our gamblers
Like many people, Ms. Hodes, a person who I have the most respect for, the problem was with the lotteries and the casinos.
No doubt the tracks should have realized the threat that the casinos and lotteries would have had on their business, but as typical, there is no realization that the racing game is broken; the same game it was back in the 1950's had not and for the most part has not changed in those sixty years. Couldn't part of the problem been the staleness of the product; the unwillingness of racing to change with regard to takeout or to take advantage of advances in technology? The unwillingness of the game to become more customer friendly, being democratic to the whales and the $2 bettor at the same time?
Yes, a good bit of our problem was not recognizing the changing gambling scene. However, to not recognize the unwillingness of racing to change the game to meet the public's wants and desires has something to do with it. Racing should not cry they are the victims in the long horrid saga underway, maybe the guns was put to our heads, but did we need to help pull the trigger?
Another thing came out of the NJRC meeting this week; test results from 2010. On the equine side, 28,855 tests were done on were standardbreds of which 16 standardbreds came back with positive tests. This means a total of .05% of the horses racing in New Jersey tested for illegal drugs. The question is if this is the case, why does harness racing have such a bad reputation when it comes to cheating (for the record thoroughbreds came back with a .14% percentage of drug positives)? Now obviously, you can only test for what you know of, but rest assured there are unscrupulous trainers of all breeds who are willing to try the next great thing, but the fact remains at least in New Jersey, while both sports are essentially clean based on the existing drug testing, thoroughbreds percentage-wise came up with an almost 3X higher rate of drug positives. Care to speculate why harness racing has the bad reputation and not thoroughbred racing?