Alan Landsburg believes account wagering can do a lot of good for California, but only if is it used to introduce a new audience to horse racing. Otherwise, it "will be little more than a pinky in a crumbling dike," the California Horse Racing Board chairman said.
Landsburg took part in a regulators' panel discussion Dec. 5 at the University of Arizona Symposium on Racing. He said the industry would be doing "a major disservice" if account wagering only provided more money for purses and racetracks.
The CHRB approved account-wagering regulations Nov. 30. Wagering could begin Jan. 24 at the earliest, Landsburg said. The CHRB will meet that day, though much depends on action taken by the state Office of Administrative Law, which must review the regulations between now and then.
"We need actively energetic racing associations willing to use funds for new endeavors," Landsburg said. "If you don't start thinking out of the box, and don't throw away those old beer mugs and T-shirts, you won't have anybody in the stands."
He also issued a warning of sorts to potential account-wagering providers in California.
"If greed raises its ugly head, and account wagering is not used toward a new, refined marketing venture...we are all kidding ourselves, and racing will turn into a television studio...What we knew as a glorious sport will have died."