For many Americans, sport is instrumental in their daily lives. Yet, the current lockdown has destroyed that lifeblood. The likes of the NBA and NHL have suspended their seasons whilst the NCAA basketball tournament was canceled, but there is one sport trying to maintain some kind of constant – horse racing.
How online betting has helped horse racing boom
As other sports look on in envy, horse racing continues its bountiful calendar. That has meant that fans can still take advantage of a number of offers and promotions as the vast majority of betting is now done online, rather than in brick-and-mortar establishments. Of course, with such establishments closing down, it has opened up the market even further to gambling sites like Gambler Saloon whose offers range from the usual casino and slots to a wide range of sports betting, including horse racing.
Horse racing has had to endure some kind of disruption to its calendar – which is to be expected – with the Kentucky Derby (previously held in May) now coming in September and the Belmont Stakes being held in late June. Races are still being held on a consistent basis, however, giving punters a plethora of opportunities to watch and wager on live sport.
As horse racing looks almost unaffected by the lockdown, it has led to criticism and some questioning as to how it can maintain its calendar when the rest of the sporting world is barely moving at all? Well, operating a racetrack without spectators does not exactly take a huge group of people. Plus, with online betting taking precedence, the sport has a key advantage – indeed, 90% of the world’s betting pool comes from off-track betting.
An animal-led sport
With live sporting events at a premium, the attractiveness of horse racing and the increasing number of opportunities available has led to more money being wagered on the four-legged sport.
The fact that the novel coronavirus – which has led to over 100,000 deaths in the States – does not affect horses has played right into the sport’s hands. With the animal the star of the show, horse racing boasts a unique feature that no other sport can get anywhere near – the athlete cannot be harmed by the pandemic.
How to maintain the interest long-term
The sports vacuum created by the pandemic and the subsequent lockdown has elevated horse racing back into the mainstream public eye. But, whether or not fans will be permanently interested or whether the initial attraction will be maintained cannot be truly predicted as yet.
Horse racing is limited in a lot of ways in the United States. Its lack of mainstream TV exposure or streaming distribution – with the exception of the Triple Crown – means it cannot compete with the big boys of American football, baseball, basketball, or ice hockey under normal circumstances. Yet, horse racing is a fast-paced sport full of varied and exciting ways to gamble, offering a completely different experience to the ball and puck games that are publicly adored. That uniqueness needs to be exploited.