Thursday, October 19, 2006

iTUNES and the future of horse racing...

So what went through your head when you saw this in the Thoroughbred TImes?

Avioli suggested that the industry pool its resources and develop one online site for wagering.
"There's iTunes for everyone's music needs, so why can't there by iHorse," Avioli (Greg Avioli, acting chief executive of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association and Breeders' Cup Ltd.) said. "We only need one site. One site would get more visits than multiple sites combined."

(full article is here)

For me it was: Napster to Go, MSN Music, Wal Mart, Yahoo! Music, MusicMatch, eMusic, Rhapsody, Limewire et. al.

Then I thought: Party Poker, Poker Stars, Full Tilt Poker,BoDog, Ultimate Bet, et. al.

Then I thought some more and I began to fume.

So I looked a bit further than just the one TTimes article. I came across something on Bloodhorse as well as an online casino-y/news-y site and read a bit more.
Here's where I stand on this. Avioli has a good thought, but come on, what kind of an awful analogy is the iTUNES deal?

Ask ANY musician and they will tell you that they absolutely DO NOT want their music solely being distributed/sold in one place. Musicians allow there music to be sold basically on as many sites as will take them. Does this hurt the music industry? I guess it depends on who you're asking.

One person it absolutely affects - positively - is the consumer. Or, in keeping with Mr. Avioli's (Greg Avioli, acting chief executive of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association and Breeders' Cup Ltd.) analogy, the fan.

Let's be clear here, by no means is iTUNES the only place to find music. Sure it's the largest, and easiest (gotta love MAC stuff these days!!) but it def. is NOT the ONE source for people to purchase music on-line. So please, take that statement back and do away with it forever. For our collective good.

However, I will say that I am with Aviloli here: (Bloodhorse)
The Internet gambling bill, attached to broader port security legislation signed into law by President Bush Oct. 13, bans the use of credit and fund transfers for illegal wagering but permits account wagering on horse races under the Interstate Horseracing Act. The IHA, a 1978 law that governs interstate wagering, was amended in 2000 to allow for account wagering across state lines.

Avioli noted passage of the law doesn't remove a conflict with the United States Department of Justice, which believes interstate wagering isn't allowed under the Wire Act of 1961. The Department of Justice contends the Wire Act, a criminal statute, trumps the IHA, a civil statute, Avioli said.

Another issue is a World Trade Organization ruling in which U.S. laws on remote gambling were considered in violation of WTO commitments based on a dispute between the U.S. and Antigua over cross-border betting. A deadline for U.S. compliance passed with no action earlier this year.

Avioli said there are several ways for the U.S. to comply: legalize Internet gambling, outlaw interstate wagering via the Internet, let international companies take bets from U.S. residents on horse racing, or settle the dispute through payment or changes in taxes. Avioli said the latter seems a possibility, though "short of those answers, this is going to stay in limbo."

And even here.....

Avioli suggested horse racing has a "golden opportunity" to capitalize on its legal account wagering status. Avioli said ideally, the industry would have one wagering site that would return proper revenue to racetracks and horsemen.

But not so much here:

"It would be powerful," he said. "People would know to go there to bet. It's pie-in-the-sky, but that's my plea for positive change."

True, this is absolute pie-in-the-sky perfect scenario. But in actuality we all know there is no chance in hell that will happen. If you think people aren't betting on horses because THEY DON'T KNOW WHERE TO IT, then I think you and I need to sit down during the BC and have a chat (which I would like to do anyway!!).

In fact, in another session at this week's 14th Annual International Simulcast Conference in Philadelphia, Dennis Dowd, senior vice president of racing for New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority said,

"Fans willing to bet at home are generally your more sophisticated player, so we definitely want to find out who they are."

So, can we agree that the focus of the future of the sport should not revolve around attempts at centralizing the INTERNETS? Let's start to focus on other more tangible ways of harnessing the great power and allure of the sport that we all love so much.
Let's start addressing issues from the BOTTOM UP - not strictly from the TOP DOWN as I believe has been done in the past.

Let's implement some consistent change and programs that will truly unite this industry and ignite an entirely new base that will fuel the continued growth and popularity of horse racing.

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