I am sitting at the table at River Downs. Just betting claimers, and yakking with a few friends of mine. Seemed like a nice day, and it turned out to be a very solid wagering venture as well. I was looking around with 20- minutes to post, and saw the game a little differently than I had as an employee.
I really don’t think we educate the public enough. I have always been a believer in ” teach them to understand, and they will come back.” When I heard a lady two tables away tell her friend it was the 3rd inning, it was like a smoking fastball in the chops. We just open the doors, and hope they catch on. Now, there are plenty of players that have a better grasp than I ever will. But, if they are dwindling. Who will be the next generation that cheers home the winner ? I guess we can always pipe in canned cheering, and hope somebody shows up.
But, that is not “the rest of the story,” as Mr. Harvey would exclaim. The breakdown used to be that tracks made their money when live racing was conducted. Now, you can count on 85% of your revenue coming from simulcast outlets, ADW’s, and off-shore action. That still leaves the 15%. That comes from your hometown track. But, if we stop bringing in new blood, the game may start dimming the lights.
I think we should have the tracks make a group contribution to the DRF, or whatever handicapping info that is used. Now, if a player wants to come to the track, they can download racing info for free. Toss in the ability to watch races for free, and utilize race replays to give them an edge as a well-informed handicapper. I bet we can teach, create, and develop your next generation. Make it a “social thing” where players can play for free on any track website to play for points, or minor awards. Give them the apps they will use to access racing, and when they finally make their way to the track, treat them like your job depends on it. That should be the easiest part, because it actually does.
When the horses reached the gate, and another lady at the table asked ” what were there they doing?” – I was hoping that nobody would tell her they were going for the two-point-conversion.