Paul Moran

For 30 years, more than 22 at Newsday, in New York, Paul Moran has covered thoroughbred racing on its highest level. During that time, he has covered 30 Triple Crown series, every running of the Breeders' Cup Championships, 23 race meetings at Saratoga, won two Eclipse Awards, a Red Smith Award for coverage of the Kentucky Derby and other writing awards from the National Society of Newspaper Editors, Long Island Press Club, Society of Silurians (the oldest press club in New York), Long Island Veterinary Medical Association, Florida Magazine Publishers Association.

In 2002, he was named New York's best thoroughbred handicapper by the New York Press in its annual "Best of Manhattan" edition. His work has appeared in virtually every racing publication published in the United States and most major American newspapers. He is a licensed owner of thoroughbreds in New York Contact:

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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Slot machines everywhere; now what?

Once the details are cleared in Maryland, New York and parts of Florida, blinking lights, bells and annoying sound effects turned on, the vulgar things known as “racinos” will have reached critical mass on the Eastern Seaboard and order will be restored to the hierarchy of racetracks.

Purses will be larger than in the pre-racino era but in the same relative order and any advantage will have been lost. Delaware, long the pacemaker in the race for slots, will resume its position at the rear of the scrum. Once every track that matters has slots or VLTs or whatever they may be called the circle is closed. At that point, it matters not that a racetrack has some form of slot machines, but what it does with the new traffic to expose the local racing product.

The trend so far has been virtual segregation of the races from the casinos, but this makes no sense. Slot players and horseplayers have little in common and the managements of racetracks have begun the casino operations with the view that never the twain shall meet. There is no view of live racing from racinos, no race call, and no exposure to simulcasting. Segregation of gamblers appears to be the business model.

It would take little effort to cross market, minimal additional expense to design casino and restaurant facilities with exposure to racing and only a modicum of planning to, perhaps, design traffic patterns that required passage through or at least past simulcast areas in order to reach the casino.

The making of a horseplayer requires exposure to the sport. Throughout history, this has been accomplished one person at a time. Another draw – regardless of how vulgar – has serendipitous potential. If one in a thousand crosses the invisible barrier and becomes interested in racing, the effort to market the sport simply through casual exposure will bear fruit. The sport is its own best marketing agent.

First, though, someone with enough vision to see the light must have to courage to take a new and uncharted course. What is there to lose? -- PM

Written by Paul Moran

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BallHype: hype it up!

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