Over the last few years, increasing numbers of doping violations have sparked a widespread call for change within horse racing. In December 2020, demands to improve the sport were met by newly-introduced regulations. The enforcement of the forward-thinking changes seeks to secure the long-term future of horse racing by retaining a sense of integrity. So, what does the future of US horse betting and racing look like?
Under the Spotlight of Reforms and Enhanced Betting Stability
Campaigns for the sport to clean up its act are nothing new. However, the alterations made within the closing months of 2020 will undoubtedly change the outlook of US-based horse racing. According to The New York Times, a newly-signed relief bill will put the Federal Trade Commission in control of the action-packed activity from July 1st, 2022.
Interestingly, the significance of these pending rule changes covers far more than surface-level matters. Upon taking effect, the United States Anti-Doping Agency will enforce the Federal Trade Commission’s rules and penalties. In the words of Arthur Hancock III, and from the above New York Times piece, the thoroughbred racehorse owner believes that embracing a USADA-controlled outlook gives the horse racing industry a future.
Crucially, the recently-passed bill modernises US horse racing, bringing it in line with other countries’ standards. In the past, Horse and Hound state that the US failed to adopt a unified approach to doping regulations. As such, 38 various jurisdictions controlled the sport. The upcoming introduction of an independent governing body will undoubtedly help to secure the long-term future of horse racing in the US without compromising on issues of safety.
From a sports betting standpoint, a balanced, forward-thinking approach to horse racing will create a level playing field. Ultimately, this means that prospective bettors won’t have to concern themselves with the legitimacy of various horses prior to making an informed bet. In this regard, the reforms impact more than on-track competition, as they’ll also lead to a more sustainable betting sector.
A Need to Ensure Longevity and Sustainability
Fundamentally, the sport of horse racing was desperately in need of reforms within the United States. In recent times, the industry has been on a slow decline. Figures show that annual growth rates sat at –1.20 percent between 2012 and 2017. Not only that, but that total is forecast to move to –0.4 percent by 2022, according to a Metropolitan State University of Denver study.
Furthermore, at the time of writing, growth regarding the market size of horse racing tracks within the US sits at –0.4 percent. Despite that, the country is still the home to some of the globe’s most-loved circuits, and that’s why protecting the industry is of utmost importance.
Along with Arlington Park and Pimlico Park – two of the oldest tracks in the US – Churchill Downs holds a special place in the country’s racing history. The circuit hosts the highly-anticipated Kentucky Derby; an event that was first held back in 1875. To date, the race continues to attract horse racing fans through its history and line-up of race-winning horses. As of December 30th, and ahead of the 2021 event, Essential Quality is 12/1 to win the Derby at horse racing betting, beating fellow competitors, such as Keepmeinmind, Mandaloun, and Senor Buscador.
Interestingly, a focus on sports betting may enable the sector to enjoy positive growth in a post-reforms era. With legitimacy likely to be safeguarded through the anti-doping regulations, immersive approaches to spectator involvement could be the catalyst in reigniting the country’s pre-existing love of horse racing. As such, this could transform the US’ current rate of horse racing decline.
A Brighter Future Awaits
Although the regulation changes don’t come into effect until 2022, the pending alterations undoubtedly give reasons for optimism. Given the rich history of US horse racing, embracing equality, fairness, and modernisation is paramount to securing the industry’s future and adding balance to sports betting markets. As a result of upcoming reforms, the sport can take significant steps forward, thus ending the sector’s recent decline.