Thoughts on sports betting

Sports betting

December 19, 2021

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RE: Three ways racing can get noticed in the shared wallet sports betting world and As sports betting evolves, harness racing must create its own niche.

I just got back from a five-day stay in Las Vegas. We arrived on Saturday and went to the Aria Sports Betting Room to pick out our losers for Sunday’s pro football. There was action on basketball, hockey and college football. There were plenty of people betting with the MGM betting machines. On Sunday, as the football games started at 10 a.m. Vegas time, the room was packed. There were at least 50 various size TVs showing whatever game they were taking action.

In the back side corner was the horse racing area. About six large size TV with various tracks, even found a dog racing track. I still can’t figure how the jockeys stay on. The only thing missing was PEOPLE. They had nice desks like your local OTB has where there were individual TVs for you to sit and watch.

Saturday and Sunday are the biggest days of the week for horse racing and there was maybe five people. Not that it mattered, but you had to bet horses at the tellers window, not available on the machine. I asked one of the tellers: How much action do you get with the horses? He said not much.

I made note of the people all around, most were young and there were a few older guys like me. I was with my 30-year-old son. He was putting in bets on various games but has no interest in throwing a $5 bill on a horse race. I stood on the side watching the TVs and the tellers just to see when a horse player was putting in a few sheckles down. In at least one hour, one guy put a small bet on a race.

The biggest action was the sports betting, and all ages betting. The slots and tables mostly older people. Horse racing, Mr. Nobody. I haven’t stated anything that I’m sure you weren’t already aware of.

I wonder when they finally allow sports betting in New York what affect it will have on New Jersey. I know a few guys that get together on Sunday mornings and drive from New York to New Jersey to bet pro football. When they are able to bet from their own living room on the phone or lap top how many will still be making that trip?

It’s a new world of betting and I’m not sure that new world includes horse racing, especially harness racing. As us older guys move on, our final reward, who will be left to take our place? The future doesn’t look bright.

Bill Hartenstine / Farmingdale, NY


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