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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Where to Begin Today?

Just a few stories of interest from the past day or two.

Western Fair District is unable to complete their draw for Monday's racing card because they still don't have a permit to conduct parimutuel racing.  How much longer are they going to hold off on finalizing things for the province in 2013 so the necessary permits can be approved and racing returns to the 'new' normal?  It is time to release the schedules and get the necessary permits issued.  If any other tracks want to come on board add them as the year goes on.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board released their findings on the impact casino gambling had on racing and one point stuck out in particular. In addition to revenue generated for the Pennsylvania Race Horse Development Fund, racetrack casinos operators invested over $7 million in 2012 and approximately $46 million since the casinos opened in 2006 to improve the stable and backside areas of their racetracks.  I guess I missed the part where the tracks invested in the customer areas of the racetrack.

Also of interest is in 2012, the total amount of purses paid out at all tracks (both breeds) was $209,041,000.  Out of that, $175,469,000 was paid from slot revenue while $33,572,000 was supported by wagering.  This means 16% of the purses paid came from wagering in the Keystone State when looking at both breeds.  Not a particularly desirable position to be in.

Bob Pandalfo has a column in the DRF where he talks about the Cal Expo resurgence and why horseplayers are drawn towards the mile track.  I love half mile racing but I must admit for betting, it is boring and not profitable.  Pandalfo claims we need to slow up races on half mile tracks by returning to the old wooden sulkies.  That will never happen but there are other things which can be done to make half mile racing exciting again.  Unfortunately, slot operators have little incentive to do so as racing is only the side show.

You have to love the OSRC.  Once again, they have put the kibosh on PNG's plans for new racetracks to replace the existing Beulah Park and Raceway Park over seating.   The OSRC has indicated that no permit approving construction plans will be given unless 650 additional indoor seats with view of the track for the Dayton facility replacing Raceway Park as well as similar requirements for the new running track.  By holding to its convictions, the OSRC is delaying the construction of the new racetracks by a period of 4-6 months.

In New Zealand, the thoroughbred interests are instituting a registry of all thoroughbreds to track their whereabouts after racing careers are over.   Why can the runners take solid steps to protect their horses while standardbred interests languish when it comes to horse welfare? 

Our running cousins in West Virginia are not happy about a proposal by Charlestown Slots and Racetrack to cut the minimum number of racing dates down considerably, by one third.  It seems with table games in Maryland, they are losing business as they are allowed only slots. 


riceownz2 said...

I live in Dayton, OH and people are grumbling about how this delay is going to hurt the area. I am proud of the OSRC. Racinos have to be about the racing and not just the casinos. I'm glad Ohio is "trying" to not be like the other states and provinces.

Anonymous said...


It's too bad Pennsylvania didn't press casinos to improve conditions for race fans. Maybe the OSRC noticed what happened in Pennsylvania without specific requirements. Harrah's has plenty of seating, but it's all open to the elements. The Meadows and Pocono spent money to reduce seats.

The casinos have followed the law, the horse people benefitted far more than fans and they can now spend much less than first required. This is from a Gaming Board report:

"The Pennsylvania Race Horse Development and Gaming Act requires each casino offering live racing to invest an amount not less than $5 million over the initial five-year period following the issuance of a Category 1 slot machine license and an amount not less than $250,000 per year for five years thereafter on the improvement and maintenance of the backside area and related building and structures at the racetrack at which the licensee operates."