Thursday, March 1, 2012

"We Can't"

I saw a tweet tonight from someone (who shall remain nameless) who has been around the business forever.

It said:
  • I love horse racing, but the industry blows.

I think that dude is onto something. For me it all stems from the word "can't".

That word seems to be our rallying cry, from both the industry itself, and those who enable it.  I don't know how many discussions or meetings I've sat in on in this strange business where something was "impossible", only to see it implemented at some point in the future.

I don't know about you, but I've had enough of that word. Probably 90% of the things that we apparently "can't" do, we can.

People tell us that we can't do anything with slots money because it's "mandated". Complete and utter nonsense. Of course we can. We get together and set some slot revenue aside from non-mandated spend, and we spend it on something to grow the sport. If we spend one penny of it on marketing and promotion, the world will not end.

People tell us that slots tracks would rather have no racing and that we can't do anything about it. The former is  probably true, but sure we can do something about it. If there is no racing there are no slots. Commissions have to ensure the tracks spend what they are supposed to on the sport and not just go through the motions.

People say we can't lower takeout because horsemen groups say no to it all the time. The former is likely true, but sure we can lower takeout. Commissions have to step in and tell the horsemen they have to make a business case for saying "no", and if it doesn't pass the smell test, they tell them to take a hike and lower it without them. If it means updating the IHA, then update it. The thing was written before Magnum P.I. premiered, so it could probably use some updating.

People say we can't have exchange wagering in California. Betting to lose, my slice isn't big enough, they eat bangers and mash, they talk funny, blah, blah, blah. Of course we can. Just say yes, and for once do something your customers want you to do, instead of what you want to do.

People say NYRA can't lower takeout because, oh, God-knows-what excuse people are giving this week. Of course they can - they simply have to ask first.

People say we can't have uniform rules and penalties because it's too hard to do. Ya, it's hard. It was hard to land on the moon, too. Giving a 50 day uniform penalty for milkshaking doesn't even take an engineer to calculate a proper longitudinal trajectory to ensure we don't land on Pluto.

People say we can't fix the TOC because they're dysfunctional. Well ok, maybe they have a point on that one.

Regardless, when someone brings up something new to try to help the sport, the answer is not always "we can't". It's been that way for 30 years, handles are down by well over 50% since, and the business is shrinking.

Perhaps it's time we started saying we "can" when it comes to fixing our problems, and let's see what happens.

3 comments:

ITP said...

Racing is doing fine and the people making the decisions that affect racing are doing a great job.

It's not their fault that the economy is horrible or other gambling business have taken away their customers.

The people that are in charge are much smarter than you think they are and they also probably plan, think and strategize on a level which we are not familiar with.

Give them time....they'll figure it out.

Drastic change is not the answer....Status Quo is the safe route.

It's March 1st, not April 1st Moron!

ITP

Pacingguy said...

"We can't" means "We don't have the will" to do something.

Tinky said...

When I hear industry officials explaining why they can't do something, I find it useful to overlay a kvetching inflection template of sorts. That serves the dual purpose of making the experience slightly more amusing than it would otherwise be, and underlining your primary point.