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Canadian Racetracks Lose $200 million to Online Gambling Sites.

6 April, 2009,  Rita Malhotra, Staff writer

In a recent interview with the Toronto Sun Newspaper, Jane Holmes, employee at Woodpine Entertainment Group, a Canadian horse racing firm, has bemoaned the online gambling industry and claimed that it costs local Canadian racetracks $ (Cdn) 200 million a year in lost wagering revenues.

Holmes claimed that the wide range of bet options available to local punters online, was making it difficult for local wagering operations, particularly on-course operators to compete.

The emergence of online gambling has been a bug bear for wagering operators worldwide.  And you can understand why.  Their previously captive market is now faced with a plethora of betting options not previously available to them, and they are voting with their feet as to how they prefer to bet. 

Aside from the availability of different play options like casino, poker and sport betting, online operators provide the opportunity for punters to lay bets on races at their local racecourse with an online wagering operation rather than with the course's licensed wagering operator.  Racegoers can bet on a Woodbine race with Betfair at more competitive odds, on their mobile phone, in real time.  As Holmes notes, this is very difficult to compete with.

As usual, the chorus Woodpine Entertainment Group are singing is that online gambling is harmful to the local racing industry, but in perhaps a slight oversight in making her case, Holmes hit on the real issue when she argued:

"The illegal Internet gaming does have an impact. If we don't offer customers exactly what they want, they have so many opportunities to get around us and bet offshore. It is a huge impact. It's not just horse racing wagering. Some people have moved to online poker. Most people think it is kind of legal here, but it isn't. It's just that nobody enforces it."

While local operators will continue to complain they need protection from 'evil' online gambling sites, they conveniently forget about the interests of the player who undoubtedly benefits from the greater choice and value available from online offerings and the freedom to choose where their wagering dollar is placed.





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