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Friday, March 14, 2014

A Wake Up Call is a Comin'

Late yesterday, I posted a press release from the United Florida Horsemen regarding legislative hearings in Tallahassee regarding revamping the pari-mutuel law in the state.  If you think your slot revenue is sacrosanct, I strongly urge you to read the post again and as important, the comments posted.

Make no mistake, decoupling (not to be confused with uncoupling entries) is a threat to the horse racing industry nationwide if it gets approved in Florida as a precedent will be set for states with horse racing. If decoupling is approved in the Sunshine State you can expect efforts in other states to decouple the loss leader (horse racing) from the profit center (slot machines or in some states full casinos).

If approved in Florida, how long do you think it will be before Harrah's attempts to lobby Pennsylvania legislators to decouple racing from slots?  What about those states where gaming revenue is declining due to cannibalizing of their customer base due to casinos opening in neighboring states?  Don't you think as overall profits shrink or turn to losses they won't look to shed their loss leader (racing) in order to regain profit margins or profitability?

It is obvious racing can not depend on slots forever; the gravy train may be coming to an end sooner than you think..  Steps need to be taken to strengthen or revamp the racing product to make it more relevant to consumers of the 21st century,  One thing is clear, business as usual will not cut it.

Maybe the model used in France with PMU or in Sweden with ATG is needed though to form such a model it will be necessary to establish national racing compacts.  Perhaps it is the introduction of new types of wagers such as exchange wagering and fixed odds betting. Maybe the time has come to mix up racing with different distances and even RUS.

One thing is for sure, the days of each state is an island when it comes to racing must come to an end.  Racing needs to become a national product, looking out for the overall betterment of the sport versus New York vs. New Jersey vs. Pennsylvania.

News Item:  HRU reports that trainers PJ Farley and Alvin Callahan have been excluded from the Gural operated tracks, including the Meadowlands..

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