New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli announced the findings of an audit which indicates despite the advent of video lottery terminals, handle and attendance at horse races are not rebounding at racino facilities.
Wow, we didn't see that coming did we?
What happened to the argument that greater purses would allow tracks to increase the quality of racing which would increase handle and attendance at race tracks? It is a great lie told in order to get slots into the racetracks to bulk up the purses and the amount of money horsemen and owners are earning; doing little for breeders, gamblers, and racetracks (other than allowing them to operate slots). At best, the argument can be made slots gave horse racing a lifeline, keeping it from going out of existence.
Let's compare handle and purses in New York state between the years 2011 and 2006, the year slots started at Yonkers on October 11 and see how well things are doing at the harness racing tracks in the Empire State
Someone explain to me once more how slots makes for a stronger racing industry? If you are talking about drivers, trainers, and owners, I guess you can make the argument they as a group are making more money. For the breeders, it is less clear. If business was doing so well for the breeders, wouldn't the number of foals born be higher at the end of this period than it was before? The number of foals born would suggest the breeders are not doing all that well; better than they would be doing if there were no slots, but I dare suspect they are not living the life of luxury.
No matter how you look at it, if you consider the success of a business by increasing demand of your product, it is obvious that slots are not delivering the benefits to harness racing which were foretold. I doubt the New York Legislature would have passed casino gambling if the idea was to support a product which continues to have a declining share of the gaming market; casino gambling was approved in order to increase revenue derived from the horseplayer, something which has failed..
Part of the blame falls on the legislature themselves for not demanding certain proceeds to stimulate wagering and attendance or setting up metrics which should have been needed to track to ensure slot revenue was well spent. Now would be a good time for the industry to go back to the states and demand such changes be made now (with contributions coming from both ends of the business to stimulate racing. After all, better a little less now than nothing later.