But there are a few bright spots, and what to do to achieve some success is hitting racing over the head with a hammer:
Slots tracks that take some of their slot money to lower takeout and promote racing via alternate means, can, and do, win. Charles Town Race Course spent a little cash to be shown on TVG, promoted their big events, and lowered takeout precipitously. This is what happened:
Charles Town had their 15th consecutive handle growth month.
Woodbine Racetrack, who has received oodles of slots cash since inception in the late 1990's, decided to finally do something with it a couple of years ago, other than stuff it into purses and some new coats of paint. This season they lowered their trifecta takeout, expanded lower cost wagering to the US, and paid TVG some slots cash to show their races.
The result? Handle was up 7.5%.
New York racing has the same opportunity, but thus far we have heard nothing along these lines. Nothing except stuffing slots cash into purses, which hasn't worked for the demand side anywhere. They have had two takeout hikes the past several years, and as horseplayer Mike Maloney noted in an interview in Horseplayer Magazine:
- Their exotics takeout on the tris and supers is absurd anyway, so the combination of those two things pushes me away from New York most of the time.