For the past few months, the leaders of thoroughbred racing have been discussing how to broaden their revenue streams. Daily fantasy horse betting has been an avenue that they’ve broached publicly, and it seems that this topic of discussion is being hammered out yet again. This is becoming a reality much faster than previously anticipated.
At the Association of Racing Commissioners International conference this week, Jack McGrail led a panel that openly explored the topic of daily fantasy horse betting. McGrail outlined a version of daily fantasy that would still include the traditional forms of betting on horses using win, place and show along with the parlay style bets we all know and love. But a new facet of this betting option would allow daily leagues to form to bet on single races, allowing players to not only bet against the track but each other as well.
The interest in producing a conduit for daily fantasy horse betting stems from the massive amount of money generated by the industry. Forbes.com reports that daily fantasy had $2.6 billion in revenue during 2015, and they expect that number to grow by 41% each year until 2020. That would mean that the industry would grow to a size of $14.6 billion by 2020. With a pie that big, you can bet that all gaming outlets will want to get a slice of their own.
Larry Eliason, the executive director of South Dakota Commission of Gaming, was not as excited about the prospect. He stated that the introduction of this betting style would not generate the big numbers that the sport is hoping for. Eliason seemed hesitant to form a much needed partnership with FanDuel, DraftKings or another daily fantasy magnate to introduce the format to horse players across North America.
Regulation and taxation remain the biggest hurdles for daily fantasy as a whole. Recently, the industry was successfully banned from New York while the legalities are smoothed out. Indiana has gone in a different direction by attempting to instil regulations proactively. Government officials are eager to snuff daily fantasy out, but as with anything makes heaps of cash, it’s going to be difficult to nail that coffin shut permanently. It might be high time that we accept this new gaming format as a way of life.
Even with the emergence of a Triple Crown winner last year, the sport of horse racing is still in peril and needs some lifeblood pumped in to it. There are undoubtedly several obstacles in the way of getting daily fantasy horse betting off the ground, but if there is serious money to be made, those hindrances are worth tackling.