Today, it is reported that there is a movement going on in Pennsylvania political circles to cut slot funding from racing. The Pennsylvania harness horsemen have (opens into a pdf file) "issued an alert urging its members to contact their state representatives immediately due to reported Republican caucus discussions about cutting or eliminating the state’s racing fund."
“If the racing fund is cut or eliminated altogether, it will create disastrous long-term results for dubious short-term benefits,” said Earl Beal Jr.
It has long been opined by many that slots funding and slots deals will not save racing. It will be a band-aid, nothing more and nothing less. Some have said it will take a decade, maybe two decades for cracks in the wall to appear, but they seemed to be off several years. It is happening right now.
HANA have a formed a strong opinion that customers of racing will be the only revenue stream our game has, at some point in the future. Cultivating the fan and customer base is of utmost importance to racing. Although we do not take any glee in seeing the above headlines, we certainly hope that headlines like this serve as a wake-up call. Machines with cherries on it will not preserve racing, people betting on horses will.
Pennsylvania, despite a massive influx in slot revenue, possesses some of the highest takeouts in North America. That is clearly not the way to cultivate a racing fan base.
For a quick take on how some think about how slot money should be used to grow our sport, instead of its current implementation, try "If I was Kentucky's Racing Czar" right here on HANAblog.
If you'd like to see the change needed in racing to help racing grow, please join us. It's free.