There aren’t any easy answers left to improving racing, and the ones that remain require careful thought and evaluation if our sport has a chance to prosper. Judging from the recent and recurring misappropriation of racing’s funds from racinos, the flush of success from racino income is about to end or at least be greatly diminished because the state governments involved see all the money as theirs. That is the state’s legal right without prohibitions to prevent the government from taking such income.
And so far as I’ve been able to determine, only the legislation in Louisiana is written so well that the money from slots and casinos is likely to remain with racing as the enabling legislation described.
As a result, the politicians in New York are already simpering round the pot, trying to scrape money away from racing. This has happened already in Pennsylvania and in New Jersey.
For a searing look into the issue, consider this post from CanGamble, which details the assault on racino money in Ontario, where the racetracks are doing better than the casinos and are being made to pay for it.
Typically, the shills for the casino industry hide their identities on racing websites and whine about how “other businesses” are being made to prop up racing. In Canada, however, the reverse is true. If the current plan is approved, their racetracks are being robbed for getting better results than the stand-alone casinos.
One way or the other, the free mix of expanded gambling in the hands of politicians will prove a problem and a liability for our sport, and it is not so simply because politicians are greedy. They want the most money they can get from the easiest sources (those that offend the fewest people), and racing has long been one of the politicians’ favorite marks.
If racing is to survive and prosper as it should, our sport absolutely has to have the proper structure and a fully empowered leadership to address issues such as this for the betterment of the entire sport.