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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Prophetic Visions Ignored

 For reasons that defy logic, the harness racing community believes that the racinois more important than marketing their own products. How long will profitable casino operations allow the harness racing parasite to steal from their bottom line? - Gil Winston, 2008 Future of Harness Racing Forum

We can dispute whether or not the OLG's decision makes business sense for them, but one can't dispute the fact the government and OLG has decided horse racing is no longer worthy of receiving financial payments in the form of operating revenue from slots. We also can't dispute that racing has done little to make their industry more popular with the racing public. You see, while the racing industry considers purses paid out and the amount of money yearlings go for as their metric for success, the government looks at the general public's response by measuring the metric called wagering handle. Ontario is basically following the same decision Quebec made several years ago, that racing is a lost cause. They talk about racing becoming self-supporting, which is a nice way to say 'you're on your own' cutting the lifeline and racing will either rise or sink to their own fortunes.

Winston at the 2008 forum also said, Racinomarketing is focused on their revenue base – slots – and rightly so. Racinos are businesses that are first and foremost beholding to shareholders. How long will it be before powerful shareholders are able to cajole, wheedle and lobby their presence in to the mindsets of legislators who hold the means to disengage the harness racing albatross from the throats of casino operations?

At least in Canada, most racetracks are tied to agricultural societies so as long as the government was willing to allow racing to get a share of the facility payments, the tracks have been willing. Unfortunately, with the exception of Prairie Meadows, there may not be a 501(c)4 (Public Benefit Corporation) which supports horse racing so the time will come when American casino operators will seek to pull the plug on racing if things don't improve. What is American racing's game plan for marketing the sport? Is racing's leaders willing or able to develop successful marketing plans? Only time will tell us.

1 comment:

Al said...

How long before we start seeing tracks close in the US when the racino money is gone. That is going to happen sooner or later and I feel we will be better off when these inflated purses/tracks go the way of the b&w TV.