What is the Cause in the Decline in Horse Racing’s Popularity in America? (Part 2)

Posted: July 31, 2015

Updated: July 31, 2015

Some reasons that account for horse racing’s popularity dip in America

Horse racing used to be a staple of the gambling industry. Well known handicappers such as Jimmy “the Greek” Synder grew up learning from the track. If anybody had money in America and wanted to gamble, they went straight to the track. Years later the track began to lose its popularity. Although horse racing has been the longest and most traditional method of gambling within US gambling laws, it experienced a decline.

• The most common perception of horse racing is that its corrupt
• Sports like football and basketball adjusted their rules to keep the game exciting
• Horse racing’s grit may have been “lost in translation” from reality to television

Casinos have always provided a source of competition but horse racing’s multi-state presence still dominated the industry. Now new casinos and Indian casinos are being admitted in more states, horse racing’s popularity is threatened. Lotteries provide easy ways to win money and the internet has made it possible to bet on multiple sports without visiting its venues.

Overall perceptions have caused a decline in horse racing’s popularity

Bud Spencer Terence Hill Pari e dispari 11 to 1

The image of horse tracks and especially handicappers was washed together with the mafia

The overall perception of horse racing by the public has affected the sport for a long time. Even when it was more popular, there was something always “shady” when the media portrayed people going to the track. The most common perception of horse racing is its fairness. Many still believe that horse racing is corrupt. Horse racing was definitely corrupt for at least 200 years before the pari-mutuel system was used at the beginning of the 20th century.

The last major scandal involving horse racing and drugs that made gambling news happened overseas in Dubai. Despite the distance, drugs have definitely contributed negatively to horse racing’s popularity. It has been long believed that horse racing’s top trainers have enhanced their horses chemically on a regular basis. Without a regulatory system, the sport may have to suffer with this stigma for a long time.

The government has always had a connection with horse racing. The government took more than their fair share of money for a while in the sports history. Nowadays most horse tracks have very low tax rates. Why would the government need to take much tax when they have other casinos and lotteries providing such high revenues? If anything the government wants to maintain their consistent tax money and keep open race tracks even though the public interest may not be there.

One of the largest disadvantages to horse racing lies in the very nature of the sport. As long as horses can only be controlled within limits, the sport will not see any changes. Audiences may come across a horse like Secretariat once in a lifetime, but first the sport will need to survive on a daily basis. Very popular sports like football and basketball made various adjustments to their rules in order to keep the game exciting. Players can make adjustments. Since horses can’t, it’s up to people to make the sport more exciting.

Dubai sheikh

Scandals like the doping affair in the Dubai World Cup didn’t help the sport’s reputation either

Horse racing’s popularity has dropped due to a lack of commercial appeal

Horse racing used to be on television quite frequently 70 years ago. It really didn’t need to be more exciting than anything else since it had a tradition to fall back on. Although the sport does have its share of excitement, more could have been done to make it more engrossing to viewers. Like other sports, horse racing’s grit may have been “lost in translation” from reality to television. Other sports had their John Madden, Dick Vitale or Bud Collins. Perhaps fresh announcers that younger people can relate to would help.

Racing is internationally enjoyed. Unfortunately the sport has suffered from the negative effects of social isolationism between the various factions within racing. This is a part of horse racing’s popularity decline. Greater solidarity amongst all types of horse racing would probably create greater validity. Currently too many tracks are only institutionally benefitting a few rather than many. Since there are far fewer horse races in the U.S., showcasing races on other continents may help usher in a new acceptability.

Racing has the ability to equally benefit men and women as trainers, jockeys and drivers. There isn’t any excuse not to bring personalities to the sport that can draw the interest of a larger demographic. Considering that horse racing is the only sport that’s completely legal online, there’s no excuse not to find ways to market the sport more intelligently. Even sponsorship, like in other forms of racing, could bring more money to the sport and not be as dependent on gambling for its survival.

The overall experience of online gambling on horse racing differs too much from other sports. There isn’t a centralized platform for gambling on horses. Compared to other sports, there’s too much to learn when it comes to gambling on horses. Outside of the majors that make US gambling news, we hear little of the sport. Therefore newcomers are reluctant to sacrifice some of their money into the sport. Apart from obvious winning records, horses appear to be too unpredictable to place knowledgeable wagers on.

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