- Don’t have to stand behind a guy buying $40 worth of 10-cent Superfectas
- Can wait until the last minute without worrying about being shut-out
- Don’t have to stand in line again to cash
- Can cancel your bet with a couple of clicks
While the column talks about people using their phones to wager at the track, it could have just as easily been titled "Reasons Why it is Better to Stay Home and Play the Horses" and it highlights a big problem racetracks have to deal with, one admittedly they will be unable to overcome. Racetracks can't compete with ADWs when it comes to the wagering experience, the only difference is the ability to see the horses 'up close'. Unfortunately, for most gamblers, after they've seen the races live a couple of times, nothing beats the convenience of wagering from home.
So if racing were to cede wagering to the ADWs what is racing to do?
Racing needs to change the funding source for purses. The only way this can be done is to form their own (or in partnership) ADW so they are able to keep a larger portion of the wagering dollar which up to now has been given away to the existing ADWs. I have talked ad nauseam about this recently; just refer to my recent columns for more about this.
So what does one do with the racetrack now that you concede the gamblers to the ADWs? Time to hold festival-type racing; where you appeal to the fans instead of gamblers. Will there still be wagering? Of course there will but it will be done at a much lower level so you would downsize your tote operations accordingly. In fact, with the exception of some tellers, you would farm the wagers to an ADW to operate as the hub.
As to the on-track action, racing would be a piece of the entertainment puzzle. Since most of the wagering is done off-track at ADWs, why are we sticking to our 15 minute (plus crawl time) between races formula With everyone now acting as their individual OTB facility, the amount of time between the races can be reduced to no more than 5 to 7 minutes between races (perhaps longer on major stakes days). Once a race is official, head back to the paddock and send the next field out for their score and then directly to the gate and repeat. There is no reason while a 12 race card can't be completed in two hours. Conduct other events before and after the racing program to complete the entertainment package for the day if you are not part of a racino; alternative gaming options would complete the day otherwise.