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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Another Racebook is Gone

Another New Jersey casino has dropped simulcasting from their gaming options. The Trump Taj Mahal is the latest casino to drop simulcasting, leaving only five of the twelve Atlantic City casinos with racebooks. The remaining five are Borgata, Bally’s Atlantic City, Caesars Atlantic City, Harrah’s Resort and Showboat Casino Hotel.

Now it has been eons since I visited Atlantic City so I can't speak of the conditions of the racebooks but you can't blame the casinos for wanting to get out of the racing game. It has nothing to do with the animosity between casinos and racing, it boils down to money. According to the Press of Atlantic City, simulcasting revenue in 1998 was $12.5 million whereas in 2012, the revenue dropped to $5.4 million for the casinos. The Borgata was the big winner where 2012 revenue was $2.4 million meaning the other five casinos which were simulcasting had revenue of less than $1 million each. The Taj Mahal, exits the simulcasting game with 2012 revenue of $533,648. Clearly the space used for simulcasting can be used for more profitable games. Don't be surprised to see more racebooks close.

The reason given for the decline in interest is similar to the decline at racetracks, an aging fan base which either through infirmity or death is declining and not being replaced. Is it the racebooks' responsibility to market racing to the younger generation? I don't think so; that responsibility lies with the racing industry. More ominously, you can see why racinos don't invest much into racing; what they need to. I am sure Ceasers Entertainment (operator of Harrah's) would like to get out of racing at Harrah's Philadelphia, Horseshoe Casino (Bluffs Run Greyhound Track), and if casino gaming gets approved in Kentucky, Players Bluegrass Downs as much as possible.

The industry must find a way to reach the younger generation and get them involved in horse racing. Perhaps the best way to get the younger generation involved in racing would be if a web site could be created where people can learn how to play the horses without losing any money, similar to those free poker sites. Too expensive? Partner with the ADWs who also have a vested interest in attracting the younger generation.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Pacingguy:

The vanishing Atlantic City racebook could be because of increased race betting from home. People just don't need to go to a casino or a race track's simulcast center anymore. Overall interest in racing has declined, but there are more INVISIBLE bettors than ever. Their money is in the pools, we just never see them.

It's why tracks should offer incentives to those willing to visit in person. Free
programs, match bet coupons, dollar food nights, exclusive bonuses for betting on track. There has to be something bettors can't get from home betting.

Weigh the time and money it takes to travel to a track against the cost of watching tv or your computer from an easy chair while you bet. It's difficult to justify going to the track.

Pacingguy said...

I think there is some validity regarding home betting, but in Atlantic City many of the people who played at the racebooks were spouses who had no interest in the slots and their other half would be playing the slots and the like. I don't think those players went home to play the horses.