Home > Casino, Gambling News > Horse Racing Industry in the US Continues to Struggle

Horse Racing Industry in the US Continues to Struggle

Gambling may have spread throughout the US but the horse racing industry has struggled to gain any momentum, finding itself unable to convince younger gamblers to spend a night at the track instead of playing slots or poker at a casino.

Consulting firm McKinsey & Company recently completed a study commissioned by the Jockey Club that details many of the woes of the horse racing industry, although there was some good news sprinkled here and there.

Kentucky Derby attendance is up nearly 10 percent since 2000 and the total betting handle on the largest races rose by more than 20% percent per race over the last ten years.

Overall betting handle for all tracks, though, has plummeted almost 40% over the same time span and overall attendance at races is down 30%. 

Somewhat similar to boxing, horse racing’s image has also declined over the years as its popularity has waned, with newer generations viewing it as a slightly shady activity that doesn’t have the thrill and excitement of other casino games.

The lines between casinos and horse tracks have been blurred in many areas, as more and more tracks are adding slot machines and casinos on-site; the added gambling revenues have in some cases been the primary reason that many tracks have been able to continue to operate.

Increased competition from US casinos and online casino and poker sites have hurt revenues for some tracks, although others are pinning their hopes on online gambling.

Racetrack operator Churchill Downs has acquired online horse racing and casino site Youbet.com in an effort to expand its revenue streams and some states such as New Jersey are considering operating intra-state online gambling sites that could support the local horse racing industry as it attempts to turn around years of declines.

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