Currently the horse racing industry holds a virtual monopoly on online gaming. As stated by many business analysts and gambling experts, this should be a perfect time for us in racing. With technology allowing for a full-frontal assault on pricing and availability through economies of scale, as we have seen in many other industries, trying to maximize our online slice, through innovation and cutting pricing should be at the top of the list. However, instead we seem to twiddle our thumbs and try and put square pegs (high pricing, fighting over more of a shrinking pie, signal restriction and signal fee hikes, state by state regulations, infighting etc) into round holes (a competitive market).
Never is this more apparent to us as players than in the following. This shows the lobbying money spent in Q2 in the US.
The leader, Harrah's, is spending money on trying to get online gaming passed; a threat to horse racings slice of the online market.
"Internet gambling supporters spent the most to influence policy during the quarter, accounting for an estimated $3.37 million, or 80.1 percent of total spend. "
And this includes some heavy hitters.
"Significantly, a number of Las Vegas operators and federally recognized Indian tribes began reporting lobbying expenses for Internet gambling – including Boyd Gaming Corporation and the Morongo Band of Mission Indians – indicating increased interest in the issue among the United States’ top brick-and-mortar businesses."
As other gambling enterprises are spending money and time to attack our monopoly, we seem to be more concentrated on stopping innovation and raising takeout (see California), making our business even less competitive for the cutthroat future.
This is looking more and more like the mortgage bubble for racing. Our business and current business model of high prices and signal fee restriction is unsustainable. And if online gaming is passed, it would even be worse - much worse. But it appears no one is home.
Who is minding the store? Who is fighting for racing?