Trends in the Horse Racing Industry
Horse racing is a business, plain and simple. Like most other businesses in 2009, the revenue was down. The handle (amount of money bet) in the industry was over $12.3 billion, so there is still a lot of money to work with. Since we were introduced to the World Wide Web (internet) in the early 1990s many things have changed, including the way the horse racing game is played. The first online gambling site started about 1995 and that has grown to an estimated 2,000 internet gambling sites now available.
One of the most popular ways to bet online for horse racing is called ADW, or advance deposit wagering. You send them money and open an account and then make bets from it. Your wins or losses are posted immediately and the money is pretty easy to collect if you want to cash out.
There have been several disputes between tracks, online wagering companies, and simulcast signals. Now, I’m sure there are details to work out, but there have been instances when tracks are not available for us customers to play. Guess what, we find another track or another way to play when that happens. While these guys are fighting for a bigger slice of the pie, customers are leaving and not coming back. Figure it out! There are some better trends than this one, and they involve large companies merging or teaming up to enhance the horse player’s ability to enjoy the game. Last year, Betfair, a British online bet matchmaking company bought TVG for a cool $50 million. TVG is one of two horse racing channels typically available in most parts of the USA. My personal hope with this one was maybe the folks at TVG would yack a little less, and broadcast live races on time. Cadbury Schweppes, the beverage and candy people, agreed to big ad campaigns with MEC and HRTV. MEC owns several tracks and other endeavors across the country, and HRTV is the other horse racing channel. Speaking of HRTV, they made an agreement with NeuLion, a leading service provider of live and on demand sports programming, that makes the HRTV signal available on the internet. So, if you like to watch live horse racing at home and you don’t get these racing channels on TV, you can subscribe and watch races and shows as broadcast.
Another good trend is there is now a better ending for many racehorses after they cannot compete any longer. The brutal truth is that some of these animals still end up in the slaughterhouse for meat. But, big steps and caring people are making headway on this one. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of programs to send retired thoroughbreds to farms, rehab programs, prisons, jumping programs, casual riding and many more. There are numerous companies and farms and businesses getting involved, and several states have laws regarding the future of retired racehorses.
This Sport of Kings is supposed to be a fun pastime, or enjoyable career, or a nice social outing; going to the track or watching races at home. Let’s look for one big trend: that race tracks and companies involved with horse racing remember us, the customer!