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Racing Needs To Change Perceptions

Does the sport face an existential threat?

Changes seem inevitable for the survival of the sport of racing in South Africa as we enter the final full week of an eventful season.

Fragmentation of interest groups and divided fronts, not so hidden agenda’s, a tough economy, and downright poor management decisions – and maybe even too much talk without action  – has seen us slide into one of the darkest times in our history.

While in the UK they may have slightly different issues at hand, suggestions that racing and betting face an ‘existential threat’ as a result of increasingly negative attitudes towards gambling, both in Parliament and in the British public in general, are becoming a reality.

Richard Flint spent 18 years at Sky Bet, including a decade in the top job. He was also, almost uniquely for such a senior executive in gambling, willing to engage with punters on social media and explain – or attempt to explain – why his firm restricts the stakes of regular winners.

“The profile of people who think of gambling as a vice and harmful, and argue that it is those things, is higher now than it has been in my experience over the last 20 years,” Flint told the Racing Post.

“That perspective is more influential among policy makers than other perspectives. That is why I think it is a dangerous moment for the betting industry and by extension for the racing industry because there are more politicians with a very negative view of the industry than there are with a positive view.”

Read the full editorial here

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8 comments on “Racing Needs To Change Perceptions

  1. Leon Lotz says:

    Mr Editor
    This weekend again on tellytrack,I have to look at overseas racing and have to listen to overseas representers while our own horses are cantering down. Personally I try to concentrate in order to take a bet,but it is interupted by overseas racing which they do not show every horse or you have to look at the lead pony.I want to support and follow South African trainers,jockeys ,breeders and horses.I am not interested to bet on oversea horses,it is nice to look at. I cannot bet on horses if I can not look at them .I have a telebet account ,but you can in any case not call in at night to bet on USA racing because they are closed.Once again taking replays ect away from SA racing. The worst is stil trotting horses and then the hurdle racing.How can you impose penalties on jockeys for using the stick more than 12 times and back home you force people to look at hurdle racing where tired horses are falling and severely hit when they are so tired.Racing do not listen to the public or trainers …………. unfortunately. The next Jooste or Cloete will arrive at the scene and the money will make him a hero and people will run to them.Give me South African racing please ,is that so difficult to understand. If people can follow their own people they might go to the racecourse to see their own horses they follow, but seeing all these horses from all over the world it is just another horse or another trainer and another rider which I dont even know

  2. Brian says:

    Hi Leon.

    Dump Tellytrack it is and always will be a mess until someone who knows how to run a TV station comes along

    What I did was join Interbet. You can live stream the canter past and watch the race and cut out the waffle

    You see Leon, I doubt they can afford a proper TV person. I did think that when Scott left it might improve but no.

    Exactly the same.

  3. Leon Smuts says:

    The worst perception in racing is that information is for a privileged few and that very few care about the horse and its well being. Add to that that bets are hard to win and that bookmakers limit winning customers, perceived disproportionate take out by tote operators and problems getting your money on and then even more getting it out and suddenly it all makes sense why racing isn’t growing. When venturing even further the worst thing is that games don’t offer real winning opportunities to new and unskilled players and very little to encourage skills development through more entertaining and affordable new formats. It is a recipe for extinction driven to failure by people who has limited interest in the success of the sport. Racing needs new ideas, new thinking and people involved who has a vision and drive to see it succeeding. Ultimately never ending own goals will eventually cost you the game.

  4. Mervyn Padayachie says:

    Skills development is a must if racing needs to survive.
    .Start with the handlers loading horses in pens. Shared some ideas in another forum and was shut down by someone who has no vision. Just compare overseas loading protocols with SA and see difference. We have to start somewhere but make the wellbeing of the horse priority.

  5. Allan says:

    Has anyone asked the ladies regarding ideas for the way forward?Gaynor Rupert, Mary Slack, Sabine Platter and a few other noteworthy ladies provide(breed) and race a huge amount of top horses. Together they must be worth a small economy.
    I love horse racing and to see it fade out over time would be a travesty of note.
    Clearly the game is under pressure and innovation is the only way forward.
    Joint ventures, with trainers exposing syndicates to racing is one way, Matthew de Kock was trying, not sure of outcomes with this venture.
    Upgrading totes and creating additional profit centre’s within totes would be a good start operationaly.
    Proper HR with a passion and love for the game is also seriously missing from most off course venues.
    I could wax lyrical about many of my subjective views regarding the state of horse racing and what I think might help but no one is really interested.
    The bottom line is, I hope those truly concerned about the future of the industry have a plan.
    Another huge concern is the trend worldwide to clamp down on gambling and legislators are sharpening there pencils in glee.
    Happy Racing

  6. Leon Lotz says:

    Thanks for advice, my only problem is I live in Karoo ,signals for normal use is a problem, live stream is only a dream here,as is racing listening to clients. I have been out of racing couple of years,really missed it,bought horses and spending money bulding training track just to find all the bad things left behind by the mafia,and they are still there,really sad.

  7. Graham Hurlstone-Jones says:

    Echo chamber….

  8. Shanil says:

    It all starts with the punter. Studying form is too much work for new punters to join in. Therefore those in the know should share their views and info. Trainers jocks etc. Yet they continue to ignore the appeals of punters to be transparent. Rather the game dies a slow death than share info. Telly Track presenters after race interviews is a joke. Discuss a jocks one ride when he has 7 rides for the day.

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