To bet on horseracing in the US with approved racebooks like BetAmerica and Twin Spires has long been permitted, and EZ Horseplay was the online betting parlor of the now-defunct Colonial Downs in New Kent, Virginia. EZ Horseplay facilitated account wagering for fans of Colonial Downs and many other racetracks. That all came to a screeching halt in 2014 when the Virginia legislature did not approve racing dates for the track and effectively shuttered horseracing and online wagering through the Internet betting parlor.
There have been subsequent attempts to bring back racing in Virginia. The most recent was an effort to secure racing dates for 2016. The effort failed in a scenario that is becoming all too common in American horseracing.
Why is horseracing in America struggling?
There are no easy answers to this question but there are some factors that have definitely played a role. Chief among them could be the complaints leveled by animal rights organizations like PETA who claim that racing is cruel to the horses that compete. In reality nothing is farther from the truth. Thoroughbred horses are the fastest breed of animal in existence over distances of one mile or more. Racing is what they are born to do and many of them are unhappy if relegated to standing in a pasture or forced into trail rides. All registered thoroughbreds in existence today can trace their history to one of three original stallions. This distinction, and their love of racing, is what makes these horses natural competitors.
Of course, racing is not blameless where the opinions of PETA and others are concerned. Some videos have emerged that show horses being mistreated. These are the exception, however, and not the rule. Most racehorses are treated better than the grooms tasked with taking care of them.
Some blame the economy for the decline in wagering and there might be some merit in this. In the Great Depression, however, people flocked to the racetrack in massive numbers to watch horses like Seabiscuit and War Admiral compete. These people had almost no money. The racetrack was the only place you could take your last dollar and, with a little racing luck, turn it into enough to buy food for a week. It really doesn’t matter how much money people have or how bad the economy is. People are still going to bet. This makes it even harder to understand why EZ Horseplay and Colonial Downs did not survive.
Are the big casinos to blame?
There may be some merit in this idea. A few years back horsemen at various tracks in the US sought to ease their financial burden and increase the purse values for races by lobbying state legislatures to allow slot machine gaming at racetracks. In many states this measure was approved, and the major casino operators of Las Vegas could not wait to offer their services to operate the slot machines.
What the horsemen didn’t know is that casino companies are smooth. That’s how they make their business work. What the casino companies like Harrah’s Entertainment saw was an opportunity to acquire vast amounts of gaming property that might at some point be turned into a full-scale casino for pennies on the dollar. They were banking on states realizing the value of legalized gambling and permitting it.
Not many doubt that if states like Louisiana approved land-based casinos tracks like Louisiana Downs would be in trouble. The track would likely be razed and a casino built in its place. Big gaming companies don’t like competition from anyone, not even their business partners.
Why do big casinos hate EZ Horseplay?
The big live casinos don’t just hate racebooks like EZHorseplay.com. They despise all forms of Internet gambling because they know gambling online has the potential to put them out of business. People are more likely to stay home and gamble rather than travel to a casino in nearby state.
Big casino executives like Sheldon Adelson of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation have consistently fought the legalization of online gambling. Why? There are two reasons. First, they know that online gambling will reduce the visitors to their live casinos. Secondly, they have not yet figured out a profitable way to create their own online casino and get a piece of the pie.
Online Racebooks like BetAmerica, Twin Spires, and Bovada Racebook manage to stay in business because they have built a strong business over time. Twin Spires is associated with the famed Triple Crown series. These racebooks are thriving and do not fear men like Adelson. They also cater to bettors in all fifty states. Small operations like EZ Horseplay cater mainly to bettors in their home state and have a more difficult time generating revenue. They don’t have a chance against men like Adelson. Any type of wagering in Virginia is a potential blow to the live casinos of Atlantic City.
Horseracing has been in existence too long to simply go away, but small racebooks like EZHorseplay.com will continue to appear and disappear at the whim of state legislatures. It is better to stick with reputable racebooks that have good reviews and a good reputation.
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