Online Casinos Make Unbeatable Competition, Say Racetracks
Horse tracks are having a tough time making a go of it in many locales around the US and Canada, even though slots and video lottery terminals have been installed to help subsidize the operations. A major reason, according to track insiders, is that the gaming venues simply can't compete with online casinos.
The Toronto Sun is reporting that local horse racing venue Woodbine Racetrack is losing $200 million a year to online gambling. With a handle in 2008 of $866 million, that means one in five dollars that might be gambled at Woodbine is going instead to Internet gambling.
"If we don't offer customers exactly what they want, they have so many opportunities to get around us and bet offshore," said the vice-president of Woodbine Entertainment Group, Jane Holmes. "It is a huge impact. It's not just horse racing wagering. Some people have moved to online poker."
Holmes made her point in an effort to prod lawmakers into creating stiff barriers against online casinos. But OCA gaming analyst Sherman Bradley interprets the data in a different way.
"If you sell spaghetti out of can, and then people desert you and flock to a restaurant that sells awesome homemade spaghetti, it wouldn't make sense to ask legislators to ban homemade sauce. Instead, you'd have to find ways to upgrade your product," said Bradley.
Bradley noted that even Holmes admits online gambling sites have distinct advantages, such as being able to offer better payouts because they don't have to cover huge overhead costs, like maintaining a physical casino.
"Convenience, freedom to smoke, no parking, traveling, or entry fees, and great odds are all factors in people choosing online casinos over land-based gaming. Trying to prevent it is like forcing people to travel by locomotive while planes are whizzing overhead."
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