The Future Is Now

by Ed Meyer

posted on August 27, 2008 in General Discussion, Horse Racing | No Comments >>

I recently sat through a racing commission meeting. There were a few things missing: a monkey and a football; the three stooges; or maybe cartoon superheros.

It was a sad scene; the topics seemed mundane. The elected officials looked as if they could not wait until they could bang the gavel and go home. Or, to the nearest pub to loosen that tie and talk about the old salt mine…. What a joke.

Nobody stood up and said enough is enough. Please stop the madness, and let’s fix the problems. This would be a grand idea, but nobody really cares. How about taking a journey to a magical place with me? One where elected officials tear down red tape instead of putting up more.  Clearing problems instead of allowing most to go onward. Strap yourself in, and prepare to take a ride on the “what if” magic carpet.

  • What if we marketed racing as ONE entity? Lets create a new racing commission that controls the country instead of state by state. This would give us uniform rules. Good, or bad. We would all play the same rules. Lets start with free admission, free parking, free valet, free live racing programs. Sound good? Just stay tuned….
  • What if we really cared and every track or betting site had a tutorial element that would allow our savvy young players to educate themselves at their pace?  Hell, they love the computer, video games and reading online. How about allowing them to wager “play” money to become more acquainted with racing. They could trade in the play money for prizes at local tracks. Only when they are ready. Then we could offer a customer friendly area or windows that cater to questions and concerns, rather than send them home like a number.
  • What if ALL tracks gave back a cash rebate? Just like supermarkets, gas stations, etc? Allow them to reward the most important element of racing. The customer. The loyalty card that could be used to track and reward players would work at all tracks, and could be used on any betting site. Think this is far fetched?  You are wrong.  It is out there, and we choose to alienate new players.
  • What if loyal customers were given opportunities to travel to other tracks around the nation?  It all comes from the same marketing fund, and we could keep racing alive by having drawings, special rewards, etc…
  • What if players were treated as the star as the horses are?  Keep local, national, online, and practice rankings. Have fun, promote the people. They will love seeing their name in lights.
  • How about allowing players to get up close and personal?  Setting up backside visits, watching workouts, seeing a new foal online at Whatever Farm……..
  • Create new wagers. Wagers that appeal to the novice all the way up to big whales?  It can be done… The tracks get a percentage of wagers, and the rest goes back as a payoff. Lets have some fun. Most think tracks want you to lose.  They love it when you win. Win every day and every race. They still get their percentage, and everyone wins.

I know, this is a dream. Or is it? Just because we didn’t do it 50 years ago, is it wrong? At a time when we needed unity, we have created more barriers. Those elected officials are waiting. It is time to head out to Mulligan Lou’s to have a cold one. I once heard, “If we do not hang together, we will all hang separately.”  The nooses are being tied, and gallows await.  It all starts by doing nothing, and staying the course.