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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Going to the Dogs

There was an article in the Times late last week about dog racing, and the efforts by their associated racino ownership to eliminate it.

Complaining that they are being forced to spend millions of dollars a year to subsidize a pastime that the public has all but abandoned, greyhound track owners in Iowa, Florida and Arizona have been lobbying for changes in the law that would allow them to cut the number of races, or even shut down their tracks, while keeping their far more lucrative gambling operations. [NY Times]
Well, that's the doomsday scenario for horse racing I've long expressed fears for on this blog...the day that owners of the racinos that were spawned by the tracks start to question exactly why they're "subsidizing" a money-losing business. Dog racing is of course way further along in its decline than horse racing; and, in fact, I do not believe that our sport will ever reach the edge of extinction that the greyhound industry has reached.

However, it took all of about three days after this article was published for a comparable situation to present itself in horse racing, as the province of Ontario announced that it will be ending payments to racetracks through the slots-at-racetracks program in March 2013. [Bloodhorse] That's in addition to moves to cut slots money for tracks in well as the recent comments by New York's Governor Cuomo that seemed to question racing's viability while he supports the notion of expanded casino gaming.

The Times article also explores the reasons (that we all know) behind the decline in racing's popularity as compared to the mindlessness of slots.
“All live racing is declining in popularity,” [some gambling "expert"] said. “It’s just not as impulse-oriented, as convenience-oriented as most gambling is today.”
“You really have to pay attention to the background and history of the dogs,” [some slots addict] said. “That’s a lot of work to do. You won’t see very many guys my age up there.” [NYT]
The Daily News reports that Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver would not be supportive of the constitutional amendment to permit full-fledged casinos outside of existing Indian facilities, unless it specifically spells out where such casinos would be located. The governor prefers to punt that question to a separate measure which presumably wouldn't be dealt with until after the main question is settled by a referendum in November 2013 (much to the delight I'm sure of the lobbyists involved, as well as politicians seeking campaign contributions).
That's not good enough for Silver, who fears such a move would make it easier for the state to add more New York City casinos in the future, those close to him say.
"He's very concerned about having a casino in Manhattan," one source said. "That's something he would not want to see."...Silver says he supports a single casino as long as it's located in a less densely populated area such as the Aqueduct racino in Queens. [NY Daily News]
Writing the casino locations into the amendment would send groups like NYGA and the associated lobbyists into an absolute frenzy, effectively compressing what would be a two-year process into a matter of months or even weeks. And it seems hard to believe that Manhattan would remain a "no-fly zone" for casinos indefinitely. As the dependence on gambling revenue grows, the fact that it's a densely populated area only makes it more attractive, and the idea that those in Manhattan need more "protection" from the dangers of gambling than those in Ozone Park will start to fade away.


Catalog Printing said...

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steve in nc said...

Welcome back. Again. Sorry, I wasn't in a good mood even before reading your article.

Racing's only large scale regular TV exposure (even if fictional) goes down.

And on the same day, one of the most well-liked (by all his players) and generally successful coaches around loses a power struggle to one of the dumbest, most selfish, inconsistent and incomplete "superstars" to ever lace up.

There are some very rich people who have gotten that way with vision, talent and hard work. And then there are the Dolans and Wilpons.

I'm sure D'Antoni will resurface in a better place, and don't be surprised if J Lin (who will be a free agent at the end of the season) also moves on to that better place. Linsanity in NY was fun while it lasted.