The International Simulcast Conference concluded its three-day run in Miami Beach, Fla., Sept. 22 with a panel discussion that looked into why people would want to wager at racetracks instead of through account-wagering services or other outlets.
Fair Grounds racing consultant Dick Powell, Philadelphia Park vice president of wagering Joe Wilson, and South Florida bettor Tom Graham sat on a panel titled, "Why Would Anyone Want to Bet at the Track?" For the most part, they seemed at a loss to answer the question.
"Tracks can be the worst places to bet," said Powell, a Saratoga Springs, N.Y., resident and frequent bettor, "even though there are some things that you can't pick up without being there."
Graham, who said he attends Calder Race Course and Gulfstream Park an average of twice a week, presented a laundry list of disadvantages of attending the track as compared to betting from his home through a computer or telephone account.
Included on his list were poorly-maintained restrooms, limitations of signals offered, traffic, and the potential of getting shut out from wagering after waiting on line.
"When I sit at my house on my computer I don't have these problems," he said. "And most of the companies I bet with offer me rebates and bonuses."
Wilson noted that while a track couldn't compete with incentives such as bonuses and rebates, his track has done everything possible to overcome the remainder of the obstacles.
"Although most tracks are designed for live racing and not simulcasting, at Philly Park we have done everything conceivable to make it a more pleasurable experience for the bettor," Wilson said.