A recent white paper published by the Thoroughbred Idea Foundation (TIF) takes a look at the three systematic issues surrounding the industry of horse racing.
The paper cited primary concerns—several state racing commissions have staffed individuals, such as many political appointees, with no plan or intent for improvement as well as a disregard for standardized rules; most racetracks are co-operated alongside shared-revenue gaming such as casinos, which results in shared revenue; and there has been an inability in the industry to address any such concerns.
Part of the reason these problems have grown so significantly is because rules and regulations on all topics vary from each state and even each track. Consequently, individual commissions lack incentive beyond self-benefit, racing is placed second to other methods of wagering and a steep decline has occurred in wagers for the sport overall.
“Horse racing has experienced sharp declines in participation via wagering, which is down approximately 50% in 15 years adjusted for inflation,” the paper notes. “Tracks have closed, attendance has dwindled and the foal crop is at 60-year lows.”
Three recommendations they provide are to demand a 3-tiered reorganization of the industry’s self-created groups, to purchase or lease racing operations so they can exist apart from gaming corporations and to pursue market expansion.
“Two decades of subsidies have enabled 2 decades of ignorance,” says Patrick Cummings, TIF Executive Director. “We need to make our wagering offerings as competitive as possible, and that include a sport that adopts far greater transparency out of respect for all its participants.”