BUSINESS

Is horse racing entirely populated by neigh-sayers?

TAGs: California Horse Racing Board, New York City OTB, racing, ZEturf

French horse racing operator Zeturf racked up €180m in sales during 2010, but that’s hardly a hoof of former monopoly’s Pari-Mutuel Urbain’s slice of the pie. Accordingly, Zeturf’s founder, Emmanuel de Rohan-Chabot, hasn’t changed his opinion that the nation’s regulatory scheme is punishing operators who aren’t PMU. Calling the results of the nation’s eight-month long regulatory experiment “mixed,” de Rohan-Chabot slammed the government’s taxation rate, saying it will drive French punters to seek out non-licensed operators outside of the country.

In New York, the December shutdown of NYC Off-Track Betting and a decrease in number of races run has reduced total betting throughout the state. Last year, the average decline in handle at the state’s OTB corporations was 11.7%, with NYC faring worst, down 15.5%. John Signor, CEO of Capital OTB, thinks more draconian internet policing is the answer to cut down on out-of-state betting outfits horning in on New York’s action.

In California, pari-mutuel handle slipped 12.7% in 2010. On-track business was particularly hard hit, falling 16.4%, and even ADW handle (normally a sure winner) dropped, albeit by less than 1%. California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) executive director Kirk Breed told Bloodhorse.com that the industry’s sagging fortunes were because “we have based the health of our game on the gambler, but they aren’t betting as much. Why? Because we aren’t putting on as good of a show.” This differs slightly from CHRB vice-chairman David Israel’s opinion, which… Well, take it away, Dave… “The average age of our on-track customer is deceased and the average age of our satellite customer is decomposed.” Well, let’s think outside the box, here… If you can’t make money off your dead customers, could you at least make glue out of them?

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