by Ed Meyer

posted on February 11, 2011 in General Discussion | 3 Comments >>

We better react, and not wait until it is too late. For the longest time, we have heard about the sport of racing dying on the vine, but as they say in football… After further review, I think the message that the sport of kings is dead has been greatly exaggerated…..

Paul Moran wrote another great piece. Another ESPN.com ditty that sums up that our casino saviors have another card up their sleeve. They feel that racing is the ugly step-sister, and is tiring of supporting a game where the demo is dying off. His piece speaks to the fact that maybe we are keeping racing and the glitz of gaming separated.

Using Indiana Downs as a model, you first have to walk through this glamorous building to get to the aged area known as the grandstand. I know tracks that are not ready to raise the white flag. Take Turfway Park, where they always have something going. They have tried to reach new demos, and keep existing players happy by addressing their needs. Nobody said it was going to be easy, but efforts such as these with some funding from alternative gaming could keep racing growing and competitive. Every business needs growth time, and I remember 20 years ago going to Vegas was thought of as a sin……. Now, it is cleansed entertainment. We have washed away all of the stigma, and turned it into valued enetertainment. Racing can, and will do the same if given the chance… But, gaming companies are growing tired of supplementing that side of the business. Can anyone tell me what the hell casinos are doing at racetracks in the first place? It was a given that racing needed help, and just when things start moving, the cash cow dries up because they want more money. I always thought that one was allowed to work with the other to introduce a new form of excitement, while keeping the historical game of racing alive. It was to be a mutual relationship..

But, as casinos are rolling, they are growing tired of funding racing. Was there ever a time that fans of racing said we are dying off, and we might as well just hang up our hat and play blackjack? Not to my knowledge. We have been duped, slipped a mickey, taken for a ride, and lied to… Racing can survive. But as every business model will show, it will have to trim some edges to be more streamlined, and take cues from NASCAR, The NFL, and others on how to reach out and market to our fans. So, don’t sign that death certificate just yet…. The demise of racing may have greatly exaggerated…….