New York Shows It Learned Nothing From Ontario and Pennsylvania

Today a press release from NYRA extolled the virtues of slots revenue.
  • Average daily purses up 44% for Belmont, 39% for Saratoga
  • Stakes purses up 26% at Belmont and 27% at Saratoga
Not two minutes after this was announced, a tweet from the DRF's Dave Grening went up (h/t to GZ):

 No lower takeout announced, no fan-centric ways to get more butts in the seats announced. Even worse, we have an increase in concession prices.

I had a chat with someone close to the Ontario situation this past week. He said he was startled that "places like New York are making the same mistakes."

When this casino is announced, or when headlines like this, or this, come about in a few years, we can look back on the above and only blame ourselves.

Related: Slots: A Cautionary Tale


Anonymous said...

At the very least it's terrible customer relations. That press release today says "fans and bettors, you mean nothing"

Al said...

It's NYRA, so what did you expect?

That Blog Guy said...

This is a perfect example as to why I hate it when tracks get slots. The industry claims it is to improve the sport when they really mean we want to stuff our pockets full of greenbacks.

In the meanwhile, the idiots raise prices. The message is "We have to put up with these gamblers. Let's see if we can drive them away as they are no longer needed".

Pull the Pocket said...

Hi Folks,

Dave Grening informs me he thinks the concessions are run by Genting (the casino company). However, as I see with most of you, that is not overly relevant to the big picture point.


dana said...

With the exception of Saratoga, and even sometimes then, I bring my own food to the track. The cost and selection of track food blows.

Beyond the actual races, all I really need the track to do is keep the bathroom relatively clean, but sometimes even that is too much.

ITP said...

As a long time fan of racetrack management, I am shocked that they are not helping the customers/bettors. The people in charge of racing always have a good idea what needs to be done to enhance the sport. I'm sure this was a mistake and things will be corrected soon.


PJ said...

Welcome to "being a customer of horse racing"

Diet coke prices rise in a directly proportional rate to purses.

Anonymous said...


I haven't followed this story but they can't be putting it all into purses when that's failed before can they? They must be doing something different(?). They can't possibly do the same thing and expect a different result(?)


Pull the Pocket said...


As I understand it, yes, it is the same mindset as in PA, IN and ONT. The arguments of 'if you supply horses people will bet' was the argument used, just like in those states. There is no recognition that bettors do not care if a purse for a race is $12,500 instead of $10,000, or whether a stakes race goes for $400k instead of $300k. There is also no set aside or slush fund that has been recommended by both wagering economists and business people (and folks like Jeff Gural) elsewhere.

It doesn't mean their hands are tied, however. As we know with Tioga, takeout rates can be lowered if NYRA wants them to be lowered. As well, operating revenues from slots can be diverted to promotions, not unlike Woodbine has done since about 2008. As you know, both the standardbred and thoroughbred horsemen have agreed to help out on this side of the business in Ontario (altho it took over a decade to realize they had to).

If they have some foresight (and if the horsemen get on board) something positive can happen for the sport, in my opinion. If they do the same thing as those other states, (in my opinion) I fully expect them to be back racing for purses smaller than were raced for in 2011, within three or four years.

Thanks for the comment,



Carryovers Provide Big Reach and an Immediate Return

Sinking marketing money directly into the horseplayer by seeding pools is effective, in both theory and practice In Ontario and elsewher...