History does not support the spread of horse racing as a popular sport. It has a record of being the preserve of royalty and the wealthy. However, there is no reason why everyone should not enjoy horses and sports betting. What can race track operators do to keep their turnstiles moving? Here are 5 successful approaches that have worked around the world:
More to enjoy: a full afternoon of exciting horse racing events is not enough! Fine dining, shopping for mementoes, slot machines and fashion shows are some of the attractions other than horse racing that draw crowds to race tracks like powerful magnets! Some of the most successful US race tracks are parts of fair grounds. Operators should develop several lines of revenue to cover their fixed expenses, some of which such as jockey insurance can rise alarmingly from one year to the next.
Learning to love: race horse owners have reasons to keep their stables from prying eyes of competitors and of those with evil intentions. However, watching horses at close quarters is integral to building devoted following for horse racing. Following animals and riders elevates horse racing betting to a plane beyond that of other forms of gambling. Watching trainers develop legendary champions is one of the most enduring joys of following horse racing. Companies with substantial and long term investments should encourage the public to visit stables and practice sessions.
Family values: some Scottish race courses have this wonderful idea of a separate marquee just for children. It always helps to expose young people to the pleasures of being with horses, and they need to have fun things to do when they accompany parents and other adults for picnics and outings at race tracks. Many individuals would find horse racing much easier to follow if it did not mean leaving the family behind.
Answering the conscience: do guilt and negative propaganda keep scores of potential punters away from the pleasures of horse racing? Many of us are trained to think of all gambling as being bad, and have some pre-conceived notions about cruelty in horse racing. Race track owners should meet these issues head on, and communicate effectively? How many people know the contributions of horse racing to their State exchequers? Do some of us still believe in the myths of the whip and wasting horse wantonly? Horse racing is humane, tightly regulated and socially responsible-it is up to us to present the facts!
Teaching to win: how does odds betting work? What do the acronyms on a racing sheet really mean? How do weather and track conditions affect race outcomes? How much should one wager? What can we learn from horse behavior before and during a tight race? Do veterinary medicines affect performance and how do we know when a horse is under legitimate treatment? Wagers in horse racing require endless study, and indeed this is one of the most charming aspects of the sport. Spreading awareness about intelligent sports betting can do horse racing and punters equal worlds of good.
Though the United States leads the world in so many fields, horse racing is not one of them, Lexington, KY notwithstanding! Japan, Australia, Hong Kong, Dubai, Switzerland and the United Kingdom all have impressive records of new and growing masses of punters, eager to have a good time on the race track, and make some welcome extra cash in the bargain! There is no more time for American operators to lose.