Horse racing needs to attract new fans. That’s not a huge secret–the sport’s fanbase is aging and for a variety of reasons has done a very poor job attracting younger fans. Even though big races like the Kentucky Derby and compelling horses like California Chrome can capture the public’s attention for awhile they’ve done little to grow the sport long term. One company, however, is hoping to leverage the popularity of state lotteries to attract eyeballs to horse racing.
EquiLottery’s plan is to merge lottery and horse racing to create a lottery game where the outcome is based on a live horse race. Their plan is definitely intriguing–they hope to offer a lottery game based on one race per day with the proceeds being co-mingled with the existing parimutuel pool. Although the actual product is still in development founder and CEO of EquiLottery Brad Cummings says that exotic wagers such as exactas, trifectas, etc. will also be available through his company’s platform.
Cummings says that one of the primary reasons for creating this product is a desire to attract new racing fans. And he may be on to something–it’s obvious that a major barrier to attracting new fans is the intimidating and often difficult process of placing a bet. Cummings speculates that the EquiLottery platform would hypothetically generate $97 million on Kentucky Derby betting alone. While the appeal for big races like the Kentucky Derby, Preakness or Breeders’ Cup is obvious the real question will be the popularity of EquiLottery on an ‘average’ race day. Best case scenario, it could attract new eyeballs and revenue to a sport always looking for both. Worst case scenario, it could be shunned by lottery enthusiasts in favor of true ‘random’ drawings and by horse racing enthusiasts wanted a more robust offering of betting options.
There’s a lot of questions surrounding EquiLottery but at least it is a new idea that could potentially be a huge benefit to the horse racing business. There’s been a profound shortage of ‘new ideas’ in the sport which is much of the reason it’s in the state that it’s in. Maybe a promotional partnership with lotteries in the United States and Canada could be a source of new fans and revenues.