Horse Racing

In the midst of massive game expansion, where does Racing fit in?


The ever-expanding US betting business is in a trend that is hard to predict right now, and one institution’s risk is another’s potential reward.

“The gaming industry in general and horse racing, as part of that industry, is one of the most dynamic today,” said Patrick E. Brown, a New York-based attorney who specializes in gaming. play and public policy, say TDN in a phone interview.

“There is a clear increase in sports betting and fantasy betting, plus new technologies and advancements that make placing bets so easy. It’s also a more socially acceptable way to bet. And in New York, with the expansion of casinos into the lower reaches, this is a time of change.

“That change brings fear and anxiety to some people,” Brown continued. “But it was also a time of incredible opportunity.”

Where does horse racing fit into that equation? That’s what Brown wanted to answer by assembling a group of more than 50 professionals for August 15-17 Racing and game conference at the Saratoga Hilton to speak in panel discussions and in informal networking sessions.

Brown, who co-founded the law firm Brown & Weinraub in Albany, is also a member of the Albany Law School, the Government Law Center’s Advisory Board. He said that one table, Fixed Odds and the Future of Horse Betting, would attempt to pull back the curtain on the positions of governing bodies, sportsbooks, game operators and horsemen’s groups.

“This topic has been around for a while, but it’s really trendy now because people have options on phones, on computers, to bet on sports,” Brown said. . “And those options are not pari-mutuel. Fixed odds are more intuitive. Easier to understand. More transparency, if you want. “

The simplicity of fixed odds, Brown continues, “has a lot of appeal to it. And obviously, in horse racing, that’s not how we do it. Because it’s pari-mutuel, the odds change right up until the doors open, and your 4-1 winning shot could succeed 5-2. It’s a bit confusing for newbies. So fixed odds will give the race a way to go with other types of sports betting. “

Topics such as exchange bets and in-race betting are also available in our sports field.

But Brown said one potential obstacle – nothing new to anyone who watches racing – is that “there are regulatory structures built around pari-mutuel betting. And those regulatory structures will have to change if we move from a pure pari-mutuel system to a sort of ‘pari-mutuel plus’ system. “

Brown continued: “There will be changes in the law, and perhaps, in New York, even in Structure. ‘Pari-mutuel’ is written as ours Structure. Now there are some clever attorneys’ arguments as to why that doesn’t mean what it seems to mean, and maybe they will eventually prevail. But the fact of the matter is, here we’re pretty close to a pairwise mutation system. “

But there have been positive breakthroughs recently. Take a look at the new law enacted last week in Kentucky that request to break the coingives equestrian riders a chance to change precisely. TDN asked Brown to predict which state(s) might follow Kentucky’s lead.

“I have no idea which state legislature might look into that, but I will say this: The breakdown is just about who gets the money,” Brown said. “We have the technology to do that right now. People used to count these things by hand and you’re really not tech-savvy. But with [the prevalence of] account bet, it’s not like you’re counting every penny on the window. Ability to work [penny] The breakdown is now obvious. The question is just ‘Who gets that money?’ [States and tracks] would have to be willing to pass that resource on to the rider. “

Sarah Andrews

Brown admits the problem is hardly new. He told his first story with racing, in 1987, when he joined Governor Mario Cuomo’s Office of Advisors.

“When we put together our legislative package to present to the legislature on horse racing reform, failure was always on the table. And the people from the budget department would say, ‘This is an X million dollars in revenue to the state budget. If you guys can earn X million dollars, we are open to contracting your proposal. But if you don’t, the budget department will object. ‘ That’s their job, and I think that dynamic plays out in every state. “

The conference will take a quick look at the future in a panel titled Horse Racing, NFT and Metaverse, which will bring together innovation insiders to discuss the explosion of “play for money” games. specifically horse racing games.

The panel titled Game Regulations in the Digital Age will look at both the back and forth, asking if “analog” regulations are enough to police the digital games market.

Brown gave the example of the Federal Wire Act, the use of which was recently the focus of evidence gathering and prosecution in the 2020 racehorse doping scandal.

“The Wire Act has been around for a long time. It’s a very important management tool,” Brown said. “But it was written for the phone. There is no other way to set it. And trying to make a modern purpose for a law written for the phone is an act of a magician. And we have a bunch of those kinds of laws in the game management arena. “

Specifically in New York, Brown will host a Downstate Casino Expansion panel. He noted that when lawmakers first approve emerging casinos, those licensees will have a seven-year start period before New York allows downstairs casinos. That competitive jump was recently reduced from one year to six, with the advantage now running out in 2023.

“And the question is why?” Brown asked. “Why did they decide to move this? They are some obvious answers to that, and there may be some that are not so obvious. We will be speaking with Congressman Gary Pretlow, chairman of the Racing and Payroll Committee, about what led to the decision to speed up this process. “

Lisa Lazarus, executive director of the Horseracing Safety and Integrity Authority, will also speak at a panel regarding her organization’s rollout of the new federal rules.

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