Horse racing is a sport that has been popular for centuries. In America, organized horse racing started in 1868 and by 1890 it had become one of the most watched sports in the world. One major thing that made horse racing so attractive was the fact that people could bet on the outcome of races, and in 1908 this was legalized after being deemed illegal in early 1900's and leading to a drop in the number of spectators.
But after staying one of the major sports in America for over 100 years, horse racing has started to decline in popularity. The number of people betting on horse races has dropped significantly, leading to 5.8 percent lesser sales and coming down from $7.7 billion in 2011 to $7.3 in 2012-13. These kinds of drops in figures lead to the question; Is horse race betting no longer attractive, or are there some other reasons that are causing a decline in people's interest?
- The total amount of bets made on U.S. horse races was $14.7 billion in 2007, and since then it has been falling annually, coming to $11.4 in 2010.
- Caymanas Track Limited, a major racing promoter, saw a drop of $157 million in their contributions in the 2012-13 period as compared to their numbers in the previous year. The numbers dropped from $4.3 billion to $4.1 billion.
- Tracks that were once famous have started to step down and are stopping races. Suffolk Downs in Massachusetts has said that they probably won't be continuing racing after this season and Manor Downs in Texas has in Texas has stopped hosting races altogether.
The Reasons for the Loss in Numbers:
Here are a few of the reasons for this drop in the attractiveness of horse race betting:
- One major reason why people have stopped betting on games is because of the lack of value for their money.
- A reduction is the number of local race days has also attributed to decreased interest of people. The local race days have been dropped to 80 from 83.
- Many local and overseas have been cancelled.
- Online betting has taken away the spirit of the sport which means that most people would rather bet online and watch games on their televisions rather than going to the tracks, because the tracks don’t offer anything other than the races.
- Other forms of gambling, like internet poker, have taken the attention away from horse racing.
- Smaller lineups mean that lesser people can take part in a race and have to wait 30 minutes between races.
At the start of this article we asked the question whether horse race betting is attractive anymore or not, and it seems like it is losing its following every day. A sport that has been played in the U.S. for over a hundred years is being sidelined because of newer and easier forms of gambling. There are still a few events that manage to pull in large crowds like the Breeders' Cup and the Triple Crown but other local events have lost their popularity, and looking at the failing numbers we can safely deduce that it is very hard for horse racing to become a mainstream sport again.