by Al Cimaglia
March 29, 2018
As spring settles in and thoughts of better weather abound there are many questions swirling in my head. Usually I have an opinion on answers to questions. But for now, questions without answers can serve a purpose. Harness racing needs to gain traction and attract new, younger fans and that will take a different plan for gaining popularity.
The Supreme Court ruling on legalized gambling is set to be announced by mid-year. If legalized sports betting happens and harness racing doesn't find a way to benefit from it, the handle may suffer. There is a great deal competition for entertainment dollars. What some don't realize, harness racing should be thought of as entertainment.
Below are questions without any answers. Feel free to post your own answers on Twitter. Maybe we can start a discussion as there is more than one conclusion for each question. Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia
1. What if every harness racing program was available online for free and how much would that increase exposure to the sport?
2. What if legalized sports betting happens and combination bets between horse racing and other sports were allowed?
3. What if legalized sports betting is in place and there was an over/under on winning bet totals for every race card? Example-If the $2-win bets were added up for all 8 races yesterday at Monticello the total equaled $44. If the over/under was set at $45, the under wins.
4. What if an over/under bet is also offered on the total of winning post position numbers for an entire card?
5. What if it was easy to distinguish where the finish line came in when watching races on a screen?
6. What if there was a festival weekend for harness racing across North America when many tracks participated in a coordinated fashion?
7. What if every harness track conducted educational seminars to explain all aspects of the sport?
8. What if race tracks didn't charge for parking, general admission and their program?
9. What if the inside the pylon rule violation was the same for every race track?
10. What if major harness tracks purchased 10% of a state bred two-year old and organized a contest to give the shares away? All costs could be included through the current racing season and then the track could retain ownership and do the same the following year.