Came across a lovely article by John Clay that simply stated what I've been trying to tell anyone who'll listen, for years: slots machines are not the way to go when trying to re-invigorate the horse-racing industry. I really don't see how this is particularly shocking or illogical for anyone who has actually visited a racetrack with slot machines. I'm speaking anecdotally here, as I don't have a lot of figures to back me up, but it should be clear to most people that slot machines and horses are apples and oranges. The people there for the apples are not interested in the oranges. And vice versa. Maybe the casinos inject some cash into the overall facility, but not the daily handle. You cannot convince me otherwise.
Especially when I see tracks like Keeneland, Saratoga and Del Mar making loads of money, running fewer races with bigger purses. And now we can add Monmouth to this list. This track looked forwards to the future and opted to cut the meet way back, bolstered purses and generally made the track a destination spot. The key here is to make horseracing chic. Accessible, but glamorous. This is the oldest trick in the book. Just look at Hollywood; they've been peddling that game for decades. And frankly it seems like the easiest thing in the world to glam up horseracing. It already possesses a rich and colorful history; the players are riddled with the rich and famous (or could-be famous). Capture this fabulousness and you'll capture a whole new generation. I mean, it shouldn't be surprising that Churchill Downs' nighttime racing caught on so dramatically: it's sexy, fun and a brand new option for people looking for a good night out.
People, this is not rocket science. If you're lacking in ideas, please feel free to give me a call. With the right backing I could be a real thought leader in this movement. Seriously. The industry needs me. :)