Regardless what happens, there are several opinions about what sports betting at a racetrack does.
- It's more competition and another drag on handle
- It's a carve-out where racing could get more revenue, like comes from slot machines
- It's an avenue to draw like-minded people to the racetrack, who may cross over and bet
From the Paulick article we see the dichotomous opines on this issue. The first comment, by Fred Pope has some merit. Not surprisingly, I guess, Pope comes out for having control on sports betting and the carve out. "Are we going to allow our partners to throw us under the bus?"
Irwin has a more sink or swim opinion, "If racing cannot compete with these other forms of gambling, they better find a way to do it or perish."
Pope once again focuses on the slices, not the size of the pie, stating that under 2% of gambling revenue in the UK goes to purses (he's right). But the UK does compete, like Irwin wants, by offering a good gamble on horse racing in a terribly difficult competitive environment. Is 2% of $20 billion better than 6% of $5 billion (where North America would probably be close to if all gambling was legal like in the UK).
The clock will not be turned back on gambling any time soon, so this new paradigm is something to clearly prepare for. And in a business that rarely prepares for anything in long term fashion, we might see - say in three years time - the policy dictated by letting the chips fall as they may.