Jeff Gural, the New York real estate magnate and racetrack owner has this to say in the Bloodhorse from the HTA conference. This is hot on the heels of the Tioga Downs takeout reduction announced yesterday. Takeout was brought down to the minimum as guided by New York state law.
At a panel discussing on suggestions for improvements to racing, Jeff Gural, the owner of harness tracks at Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs, New York, suggested that the light attendance was because “the race tracks that don’t have slots aren’t here because they can’t afford it. Those that do have slots aren’t here because they don’t care about racing any more.”
Gural said, “even though I’ve lost a lot of money, I still enjoy running Tioga Park.” And despite his losses, he remains an advocate of reducing the takeout. “If you’ve got slots,” he said, “the pari-mutuel revenues are a drop in the bucket. Why offer slots with an 8% takeout and then charge people 20% to bet on racing?”
He clearly has a lot of guts to say this to his fellow track owners. And we, as a Horseplayer Association, will ask racing with him: Why are states prohibiting track owners from lowering their prices? Why can't slots tracks (where the bulk of the money comes from slots for purses, not pari-mutuel revenue) charge as low a price as they want?
Tioga VP Settlemoir: "“We would even consider going lower on the takeout rates to between eight and nine per cent like the typical hold in the casino world if the state would allow us."
When will our business, in as bad a need for change as any business on earth, stop standing in people like Jeff Gural's way?