Monday, May 14, 2012

Online Gambling's Threat To Racing Is Very Real

Gambling911.com is reporting MGM has created an online casino game, ready by June. Despite trouble federally, virtually everyone is saying that state by state these things are good to go, very soon. As we talked about a couple of months ago, Zynga, the creators of the massively popular social game "Farmville" is looking to do similar.

There is very little talk about this in racing circles. In fact, I have not heard one person from a position of power chat about this likelihood, and its threat to racing revenues.

Right now, at the present time, racing has a de-facto monopoly on online gaming.

Right now, at the present time, we stink at having a monopoly on online gaming.

Infighting, the Interstate Horse Racing Act, "home market areas" controlled by horsemen groups, groups like the TOC with so much power. It breeds inefficiency and sub-optimal performance. We don't have professionals making professional decisions, we have alphabet groups with no expertise on gaming making decisions.

It's why I cannot find one person who can read this chart and think that we've done anything but a terrible job.

When rebating was first spoken about in the 1990's, racing wished it just went away. When customers and bettors and bloggers started talking about uniform rules, drug regulation and proper penalties, along with lower takeout the next decade, people seemed to hope that went away too. Ditto about slots and pouring all the money into purses (the raise purses and "hope" strategy), without regulation or a plan.

I'm sure racings response to the Zynga's and MGM's of the world will be similar, if there even is a response. But they, like our problems with takeout and medication, will not go away either. If we do the same thing we always have - fight and ignore the problem - this will, in my opinion become a massive issue for racing in the coming years. It's probably the biggest threat to racings revenues since land-based casinos.




1 comment:

Pacingguy said...

Time to defend racing. Some of the problem lies on the foot of state legislatures; simply legislation has not kept up with technology and they have bigger priorities than looking at this.

Not to say racing doesn't deserve some of the blame. For example NJAW was put in at the insistence of the NJSEA. I am sure if the NJSEA didn't run racing at that time, it would have been open to all ADWs.