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Friday, January 29, 2016

A New Model for North American Racing - The Tracks and Wagering

People often cite the success of racing in Sweden as proof racing can thrive given the right opportunity.  While they may be right, I tend to think they are not aware of how racing is conducted in the Scandinavian country.  It is totally different than the majority of North American racing.

Yesterday, I discussed how the new racetracks will need to be developed; part of a planned multi-use residential-commercial development.  The question is who will operate these developments?

Under the Swedish model, wagering is operated by ATG, who provides tote services for all forms of racing.  Unlike the for-profit tracks in the United States and Canada (except for those operated by non-profits), Swedish racetracks are operated by non-profits; their concern is with racing and supporting the industry, including breeding.  The sad truth is racing will not be profitable enough for a for-profit group and like it or not, decoupling will come ending the racino-era at racetracks.

What is needed is a reduction of racing dates with race dates assigned to the various non-profit tracks for meetings (race days, not actual race meets) by this national tote group.  The tracks will operate in many ways as they currently are, the exception being wagering  outsourced to an ATG-type group which will handle wagering on track and wagering off-track which will also provide the funds for race purses.  

Under this ATG organization, with race meets scheduled by them, they will be able to organize marketing for specific meets and the promotion of wagering.  Development of new wager types would be one of the missions of this organization, creating new parlay type bets and their V wagers such as the V75 or V86.  With one group leading the charge, they will be able to be the point group responsible for getting the wager a large national audience, such as ticket sales through lottery agents (how do you think Megamillions and Powerball become national games).  The promise of a nationalized wager with the potential of large pools and payoffs will generate income for the various states, as they seek to modernize their offerings.  
What do you do about ADWs?  U.S. law provides anti-trust protection to these companies so they will still need to be given access to the signals as currently done.  This national wagering agency will need to compete with the ADWs to draw market share to them away from the ADWs

Yes, changes will need to happen on the state levels for this to happen.  With many states already allowing ADWs to come in an accept wagers, time will be needed, but eventually state commissions will come around (note this plan doesn't do anything regarding licensing and non-wagering regulations).

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