One day, maybe 20 years from now, I believe that an MBA class at Wharton or Rotman or Columbia will focus solely on slot funding for racing. It will probably have an
exam question like: "Slots Subsidies for Racing - list 36 things that went wrong and discuss." About $200M alone will go from slots to purses in Ontario this year. Probably 3X that will go to Pennsylvania tracks (powerhouses and the epicenter of the sport like Penn National) this year.
The model is as follows: Person comes to slot parlor, puts money in machine, loses. Money is taken from machine, given to racetracks for some profit and an equal amount is placed into purses. After awhile, no one comes to racetrack, handles fall. Purses then fall, racetracks profits then fall, the business of racing slows. Then money is started to be taken away from racing by government while they ask the question "what have you done with all that money". The last item, which we have not reached yet, but will likely: racing fails.
Then there is the class at Wharton about it. On guest speaker day an old timer would come in and say "I remember when...."
Darryl Kaplan has an excellent piece in this months Trot Magazine with a plan. It is a ten step plan that gives us a shot to not be a footnote to business history. It involves a few main items: Growing wagering by investing in bettors, purse pooling so tracks like Woodstock stop giving piles of purse money out while racing horses in front of eleven relatives, a guy selling hot dogs and three barn cats, and using some cash as a set-aside to promote wagering throughout the province.
So far the response has been lukewarm. As Darryl says in the piece, however, "those who are only concentrated on protecting their shrinking piece of the pie need not apply." I agree with that, 100%. You are who you surround yourself with, in life or business. If you want to win, you don't let these people in the front door. They are poison.
Anyway, nice piece Darryl.
Summer is coming. You can use the calendar to see that, or you can simply turn on the qualifying report in harness racing. Today many of last years good ones qualified. All Speed Hanover came 5th, shockingly. Woodstock was not much better. I am not going to read too much into that with Noel Daley at the helm. Sportswriter seemed ok. We will know how these horses came back next time, I feel. By the way, we will start our countdown to the cup here on the blog next week. Right now Ideal Matters and One More Laugh (who was, in my opinion, head and shoulders above any horse last year in sheer talent before going off in September) top my list. That can change as quick as a bunny after a race or two, and probably will.
Have you checked out that Survivor Game at Monmouth/Meadowlands in the HRF ad at the right? I do not play that contest, but I clicked it and visited the site. it is fabulous. How far we have come in racing of late.
Reminder: Live blog on the HANA site on Saturday for the harness races. Should be fun. If you want to join the Tioga handicapping contest you still can here.
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