ad-fullscreen

Racetracks raising admission is road to failure

Decades ago, the horse racing industry would study the Las Vegas casino business hoping to emulate its success. The business here was booming, and racing was starting to take on water.

Well, some of those lessons must have been forgotten.

In separate news stories, which both go to the heart of getting people to attend the races in person, two companies are making it more expensive.

Jennie Rees of the Louisville Courier-Journal wrote that Churchill Downs no longer allows loyal Twin Spires Club members a discount that reduces general admission to $1.

At the same time, Steve Crist in the Daily Racing Form reported that the New York Racing Association wants to increase admission at its racetracks for the grandstand from $3 to $5 and the clubhouse from $5 to $8.

Meanwhile, even with casinos opening in dozens of states from coast to coast, the admission remains the same — free.

It is a basic tenet in gambling that you don’t charge your patrons for the express privilege of losing their money. While the casinos and racetracks advertise smiling faces of young people winning money, the reality is closer to 80 percent to 90 percent of the players lose.

Let me put this another way. In Economics 101, you are taught if sales are going down, the one thing you don’t do is raise prices. A good reason for raising the price would be if the product was so improved, and became so popular, that to the consumer it was worth paying more.

The executives at Churchill Downs and the NYRA cannot say these things, at least with a straight face.

Raising admission and parking fees, which also is being considered, at minimum takes away money that would be bet into the pari-mutuel pool. A horse racing venue is in a unique position. It wants every person there to gamble big, and win big, because that money will be bet, or churned, through the system over and over again.

This also is an example of horse racing competing with itself.

If fewer people go to the racetrack, they probably still will bet but through their phones or Internet accounts. For Twin Spires and NYRA Rewards, that could be a more efficient way of handling their player’s action.

However, are we watching a self-fulfilling prophecy of horse racing becoming a studio sport?

These two companies are making it cheaper, and more convenient, to bet at home.

But therein lies the rub of trying to grow the sport to newcomers. Live racing is the optimum experience in this sport. The next level would be a first-class race-book facility like we see in Las Vegas.

I’m not sure how many newcomers will be enticed by making a phone bet.

One of these days, a racing executive will have a eureka moment. Maybe a good way of growing revenues is to increase the handle by lowering the takeout.

That is a formula that just might work.

Richard Eng’s horse racing column is published Friday in the Las Vegas Review-Journal. He can be reached at rich_eng@hotmail.com. Follow him on Twitter: @richeng4propick.

section-ads_high_impact_4
Sports Betting Spotlight Videos
Sports Betting Spotlight: College football Week 12
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and Bob Scucci go over their picks for college football week 12.
Sports Betting Spotlight: NFL Week 11
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and Bob Scucci go over their picks for NFL football week 11.
Sports Betting Spotlight: NFL Week 10
Review-Journal reporter Todd Dewey, handicapper Kelly Stewart and CG Technology Sports Book Vice President Matt Holt preview Week 10 of the NFL.
Sports Betting Spotlight: College Football Week 11
Review-Journal reporter Todd Dewey, handicapper Kelly Stewart and CG Technology Sports Book Vice President Matt Holt preview Week 11 of the college football season.
Sports Betting Spotlight: College Football Week 10
Review-Journal reporter Todd Dewey, handicapper Kelly Stewart and Boyd Gaming Sports Book Director Bob Scucci preview Week 10 of the college football season.
Sports Betting Spotlight: NFL Week 9
Review-Journal reporter Todd Dewey, handicapper Kelly Stewart and Boyd Gaming Sports Book Director Bob Scucci preview Week 9 of the NFL season.
Sports Betting Spotlight: NFL Week 8
Review-Journal reporter Todd Dewey, handicapper Kelly Stewart and The Mirage sports book director Jeff Stoneback preview Week 8 of the NFL season.
Sports Betting Spotlight: NFL Week 7
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and Alan Berg go over their picks for NFL week 7.
Sports Betting Spotlight: NFL Week 6
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart, and Boyd Gaming sports book director Bob Scucci make their picks for NFL Week 6. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sports Betting Spotlight: College football Week 7
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart, and Boyd Gaming sports book director Bob Scucci maker their picks for Week 7 of college football. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sports Betting Spotlight: NFL Week 5
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart, and CG Technology Sports Book Vice President Matt Holt go over their picks for week five of college football.
Sports Betting Spotlight: College Football Week 6
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart, and CG Technology Sports Book Vice President Matt Holt go over their picks for week six of college football.
Sports Betting Spotlight: College Week 5
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart (@kellyinvegas) and Wynn Sports Book Director John Avello go over their picks for week five of college football and their best bets.
Sports Betting Spotlight: NFL Week 4
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart (@kellyinvegas) and Wynn Sports Book Director John Avello go over their picks for week four of the NFL and their best bets.
Sports Betting Spotlight: NFL Week 3
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart (@kellyinvegas) and Caesars Oddsmaker Alan Berg go over their picks for week three of NFL football and their best bets.
Sports Betting Spotlight: College Football Week 4
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart (@kellyinvegas) and Caesars Oddsmaker Alan Berg go over their picks for week three of college football and their best bets.
Sports Betting Spotlight: NFL Week 2
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and Boyd Gaming sports book director Bob Scucci talk about their best bets for the second week of NFL football in this weeks sports betting spotlight. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sports Betting Spotlight: College Football Week 3
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and Boyd Gaming sports book director Bob Scucci talk about their best bets for the third week of college football in this weeks sports betting spotlight. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sports Betting Spotlight: Denver Broncos 2017 Season Preview
The Review-Journal’s Todd Dewey, handicapper Kelly Stewart (@KellyInVegas) and VP of CG Technology Sports Books Matthew Holt preview the Denver Broncos. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sports Betting Spotlight: Miami Dolphins 2017 Season Preview
The Review-Journal’s Todd Dewey, handicapper Kelly Stewart (@KellyInVegas) and VP of CG Technology Sports Books Matthew Holt preview the Miami Dolphins. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sports Betting Spotlight: New York Jets 2017 Season Preview
The Review-Journal’s Todd Dewey, handicapper Kelly Stewart (@KellyInVegas) and VP of CG Technology Sports Books Matthew Holt preview the New York Jets. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sports Betting Spotlight: NFL Week One 2017 Season
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart (@kellyinvegas) and Matthew Holt discuss their top picks for the first week of the NFL in this Sports Betting Spotlight.
Sports Betting Spotlight: New England Patriots 2017 Season Preview
The Review-Journal’s Todd Dewey, handicapper Kelly Stewart (@KellyInVegas) and VP of CG Technology Sports Books Matthew Holt preview the New England Patriots. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sports Betting Spotlight: Kansas City Chiefs 2017 Season Preview
The Review-Journal’s Todd Dewey, handicapper Kelly Stewart (@KellyInVegas) and VP of CG Technology Sports Books Matthew Holt preview the Kansas City Chiefs. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sports Betting Spotlight: Buffalo Bills 2017 Season Preview
The Review-Journal’s Todd Dewey, handicapper Kelly Stewart (@KellyInVegas) and VP of CG Technology Sports Books Matthew Holt preview the Buffalo Bills. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sports Betting Spotlight: Oakland Raiders 2017 Season Preview
The Review-Journal’s Todd Dewey, handicapper Kelly Stewart (@KellyInVegas) and VP of CG Technology Sports Books Matthew Holt preview the Raiders. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
College Sports Betting Spotlight: Alabama, Florida State and UCLA
The Review-Journal’s Todd Dewey, handicapper Kelly Stewart (@KellyInVegas) and VP of CG Technology Sports Books Matthew Holt preview the first week of the college football season. They go over the biggest bets including Alabama, Florida State and UCLA. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sports Betting Spotlight: Arizona Cardinals 2017 Season Preview
The Review-Journal’s Todd Dewey, handicapper Kelly Stewart (@KellyInVegas) and Wynn sports book director Johnny Avello preview the Cardinals’ season in the 24th of a series of 32 NFL team videos in 32 days. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sports Betting Spotlight: Philadelphia Eagles 2017 Season Preview
The Review-Journal’s Todd Dewey, handicapper Kelly Stewart (@KellyInVegas) and Wynn sports book director Johnny Avello preview the Eagles’ season in the 23rd of a series of 32 NFL team videos in 32 days. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sports Betting Spotlight: Seattle Seahawks 2017 Season Preview
The Review-Journal’s Todd Dewey, handicapper Kelly Stewart (@KellyInVegas) and Wynn sports book director Johnny Avello preview the Seahawks’ season in the 21st of a series of 32 NFL team videos in 32 days. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sports Betting Spotlight: Detroit Lions 2017 season preview
The Review-Journal’s Todd Dewey, handicapper Kelly Stewart (@KellyInVegas) and Sunset Station sports book director Chuck Esposito preview the Lions’ season in the 15th of a series of 32 NFL team videos in 32 days. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sports Betting Spotlight: Carolina Panthers 2017 season preview
The Review-Journal’s Todd Dewey, handicapper Kelly Stewart (@KellyInVegas) and Sunset Station sports book director Chuck Esposito preview the Panthers’ season in the 14th of a series of 32 NFL team videos in 32 days. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
TOP NEWS
ad-315×600
News Headlines
pos-2 — ads_infeed_1
post-4 — ads_infeed_2
Local Spotlight
Events
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like