A friend of mine who has been playing standardbreds since 1971 is throwing in the towel and leaving the game. Why has caused him to give up the game? A lack of transparency. What in particular has irked him? A bunch of issues, really but the specifics don't matter.
I'm not going to get into the validity of his concerns or not, everyone feels differently regarding certain issues. But after thinking about what he and others have said to me, it boils down to a lack of respect for the gambler. The game's rules are written in the best interests of horsemen and tracks, with little concern for the gambler; the lack of a fair start rule in the United States being a perfect example (you knew I was going to work that one into this), Information is not provided the gamblers regarding the race card or if it is, one often has to go on a quest to find the information.
This lack of respect of horseplayers, treating of them as a necessary evil; is an issue which has gotten worse since slots have been feeding purses. This lack of respect is not giving gamblers information they should have. Granted, some would say certain information is essential, others would say it is just noise in the handiapping equation.
So what information should be given ot the horseplayer? Do the gamblers need to know every minutia of information? Do they have a right to know about track maintenance, horses being legally pre-treated, sore horses, sick horses (minor) during the week and bike types among other things? Perhaps driving strategies (to take it to the extreme)?
Clearlyeveryone has their own definition of necessary information. While some tracks provide a lot of information for their customers, others are woefully lacking. I do think there needs to be a certain standard and the USTA should develop it, detailing the minimum amount of information which should be made available to the betting public. While at present such a standard would be voluntary as the USTA lacks the enforcement ability to make it mandatory, the lack of complying could be used by ADWs and other tracks in determining which signals they will be carrying.
I am sure you may come up with your own wish list of information but you get the point. Show the horseplayer some respect and give them information they feel necessary, don't cloak it in secret. Remember, if you don't show them respect, there is another other gaming option willing to do so.