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Sunday, October 13, 2013

Transition Report Envy?

Ontario's provincial government has issued the final version of the Horse Racing Industry Transition Panel Report and while I am sure certain people will not be happy with it, primarily the standardbred tracks being left out of the Standardbred Alliance and Fort Erie Racetrack, I can only say one thing.

I wish this was happening in the United States.  Yes, being each state sets its own rules and the horsemen flush with slot money would object, this proposal would solve several problems we have.

  1. It would eliminate the over abundance of racing dates - Standardbred Live, will coordinate racing schedules to maximize wagering at each track.  This means no more situations of 20 tracks racing the same day. You would not have racing occurring at Yonkers and the Meadowlands the same night.
  2. On track handle and wagering matters - Funding received by the province will be directly influenced by the direct wagering on the track.  While the proposal doesn't eliminate ADW wagering, OTW and ADW wagering will be controlled by one organization with the revenue being divided between the tracks based on on-track wagering.  The end result is tracks will need to develop plans to put butts in the chairs.
  3. A national coordination in marketing - The national racing office will allow each racing breed to have their own central office making decisions reflecting the sport.  An advertisement campaign focused will be more effective than every track marketing willy nilly, if at all.
  4. Development of boutique meets - Lets face it, as much as one may love racing at Boondock Downs, it makes no sense to try to run a 90 day meet there.  Racing one month at Boondock Downs may make financial sense as you need less operating expenses and the excitement of racing that period of time may make it economically feasible to race there instead of closing shop.

Of course, I am not oblivious to the objections horsemen would have.  After all, who wants to give up their 360 days of racing each year or surrender their slot revenue for heaven forbid use in another state?  

What would we do with the various numbers of ADWs?  How much would it cost to have them merged into a single entity or to have them pay their commissions into a central repository. 

Of course there are other issues which would need working out before something like this could take place in the States.  One has to wonder if Ontario racing will be stronger than racing in any slot state   More importantly, will racing in any state get a second chance when the state pulls their supplemental funding?

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