Thursday, October 30, 2008

State of the Game

In a time when handles are falling, and signals are being cut off, at places like posts like this are seen regularly by racing fans:

Today I cant bet on CD, HOL, GG............seems like there are more disputes that hurt the bettor. You cant count on getting a bet down anywhere anymore. Why study all night just to find our your not eligible to wager somewhere.

Funniest Line in HollyGreed ADW Mess...
Todd T. Schrupp follows up Ken Rudulph's announcement that the fifth race at Hollygreed will kick off the
"$150,000 Guaranteed Late Pick-4"
Todd's response?"I wonder how long they'll circle behind the starting gate?"

... there is someone north of the border who has a plan: Start working together and not against each other.

In a piece related to falling handles (this is from a Harness racing magazine, but the problems are of course, pandemic in all racing) the writer puts together some very good thoughts. It is a tough look at racing, and that something has to be done, besides fighting.

It is worth reading, and here are a few snippets:

Horse wagering is the ONLY stable form of funding that keeps racing sustainable. Otherwise the product is an expense, completely expendable at the whim of casino companies, racetrack operators and governments more interested in diverting slot money to schools and hospitals than to horsepeople.

As the global economy enters a worldwide downturn, excuses are already on their way. Don’t listen to them. We were going backward when the economy was flying high. The greatest period for the history of North American horse racing actually came during the Great Depression when racetracks and gambling offered a welcome distraction in the face of huge unemployment and desperation.

In 2007, $224 million was allotted to Canadian standardbred purses, most of which came from slot funding in comparison. According to a recent independent study conducted in Canada by HLT Advisory Inc., the horse racing sector spent $8 million (1.6%) of its total revenues on marketing the sport. Bingo spent $27 million (3.9%), lotteries: $227 million (6.5%) and Casinos: $671 million (8.9%).

This writer wants to see the opposite of what is happening with the fights at Hollywood and Churchill and elsewhere. Instead of wanting more money to go to purses, he wants it to go to the sport to grow:

The message is clear. Our failure to reinvest in promoting the sport is suicidal.

Taking $25 million from purses toward development, promotion, marketing and technological change, if done properly, may make an impact. How about $50 million? This funding must be directed toward a well thought out plan for the revitalization of the sport and it must be paid annually.

For those seething at the suggestion of directing purse money to marketing efforts, convinced the lost funds will put horsepeople out of business, I suggest the following: the sport will die and you will sit idly by while it happens. Funding will dry up and this solution will cease to be an option.

Putting money into technology, marketing and the horseplayer. What a radical thought, huh?

To read it all click here.

And please, if you have not joined HANA to try and tackle this sorry state of our game, please do. It is free and we have some cool stuff planned over the next months. We'd love for you to be a part of it.

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