Yesterday at an industry meeting near Toronto, this speech was given:
"The one point that I want to discuss is your future and what it
depends on. It is more than about the money, it is
about the customer. Your future
depends on how many people are coming to the track and how many people
are coming to the track and betting. The government is going to support
you based on how many customers you have and how much money they wager, so that's your future. Everyone, collectively, has to think
about how you attract bettors and customers to the track and regain
interest in the industry."
"I said this yesterday: two years ago if we
had one of these (industry consultation sessions) I don't think we
would have heard 'customer' or 'horseplayer' mentioned. It would have
just been about how much money there was and how we were going to divide
"The future depends on the customer --- the same as McDonald's, it
depends on how many hamburgers they sell. This business depends on how
many dollars are coming through that (wagering) window --- that's what
you're all about."
Pop Quiz: Who said it?
a) Jeff Platt - President of the Horseplayers Association of North America
b) That rabble rousing horseplayer @insidethepylons on twitter
c) One of the people who are going to be running horse racing in the Province of Ontario
It is shocking, but it's c.
Think about that line of questioning when it comes to the headlines in Ohio, or last year in New York, which have received slots and gaming money. Most of the time the talk is about fights for splits, how much a stakes race is going to go for, how much purse money are put into overnights, breeding and everything else. When a slot deal is passed you'd wonder if a customer even exists.
Ontario has received over $4B in slot money since the original deal was passed in the late 1990's. About $345 million poured into the coffers of racing a year. Last year, of course, it was discontinued.
Ontario has a long, long way to go. It might never recover. But one thing is for sure, if you are a customer, you are higher on the fiefdom totem pole than you ever have been in horse racing, anywhere in the world. Horse racing has been completely turned upside down.
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