Welcome Guest
Log In | Register )
You last visited July 27, 2017, 6:52 pm
All times shown are
Eastern Time (GMT-5:00)

Maryland Lottery to add horse race tie-in

Maryland LotteryMaryland Lottery: Maryland Lottery to add horse race tie-in

A good idea is a jewel to behold, even if it seems to come out of left field, or, say, the backstretch where the main goal is aimed at a winner's circle somewhere else.

In Maryland racing a couple of weeks ago, a good idea surfaced in the form of an announcement about a lottery campaign with a brilliant tie-in to the Maryland Million, the signature day of racing for state-sired horses. The Million, set for October 14, will come up for the 21st time this year, at Laurel Park, and this time around, a fan can take home a million dollars. That's more than will be awarded, combined, to the owners of all horses on Million Day.

Even before the announcement made inroads, the campaign was already in evidence from a series of short bursts on television showing beautiful close-ups of thoroughbreds in action, with voices in the background explaining the chance for riches in the scratch-off game and race-day festivities.

The inner workings are somewhat complicated but in the end there ought to be some good reports and maybe even some encouragement about the future.

The prime consideration here is television. Racing would like to attract many more newcomers than the ones who see the stories in magazines and newspapers. Television has such a wide audience. And it has great impact. The careers of Funny Cide, Smarty Jones, Afleet Alex and Barbaro would not have attracted all the attention that they did during the recent Triple Crown runs if they hadn't been on TV.

That goes double for Barbaro, whose injury early in the Preakness and subsequent crisis treatment at the New Bolton veterinary center has caught an emotional reaction from the occasional television viewers. They didn't know about the colt until the Preakness, now they ask about his health, which in mid-week, was very good,

For decades, racing people have been frustrated about promoting their game. A recent historical reference in the Thoroughbred Times magazine pointed to an event 75 years ago when the celebrated horse, Sun Beau won the Arlington Handicap and became the largest money-winning thoroughbred of all time. Writer John Hervey noted that the "track overlooked a bet," because the milestone went unmentioned to the crowd. His earnings were $330,004 but in those times, it was as big as the million-dollar figures are today.

An incident that seems hard to believe still can be heard about when track publicists and management types get together and talk. It seems that on the day when legalized bookmaking ended in New York, back in the 1930's, a huge crowd of more than 70,000 gathered for the races at old Jamaica Race Track, an event which prompted some social leader who had a position of importance at the track to grumble, "Why don't these people go to the beach or somewhere else than here? There's no room for them!"

So the TV commercials for the Maryland Million scratch-off lottery ($5 variety) with all its side-benefits fit the modern-day concept of promotion exceedingly well. The Maryland Million program can't afford costly promotions like the lottery has, neither can the other beneficiary, Maryland racing, and in particular, Laurel Park.

Several scratch-off customers, decided by earlier drawings, will go into Maryland Million Day with the chance to get the big prize. That's $1 million, for one of the ticket holders. The winner gets $1 million and the first runner-up receives $25,000. Also to be given away is $50,000 in an added drawing at the track. All customers who paid out $5 and wound up with losing tickets can mail them to the lottery headquarters and receive free admission for Maryland Million Day.

The idea for this all came about at a meeting of Lottery chief Buddy Roogow, Maryland Million's Cricket Goodall and Lou Raffetto, track president at Laurel. Who's idea was this beautiful TV commercial? All three demurred the question and finally Roogow gave some credit to his boss, Governor Robert Ehrlich.

"He's asked us before to do something for racing," Roogow said. "So we told Crickett and Lou what we had in mind and they went along. I like the opportunity to use Maryland Million in our commercials. That really fits in well. Now our main purpose for existing is to show a profit and we hope this will. If it helps with racing, then we're happy for that. The Governor asked the Lottery (commission) to help out several years ago and racing got a subsidy of something like 10 million from lottery funds. This time, maybe things will change and racing will be helped by (legalizations of ) slot machines."

The Capital

We'd love to see your comments here!  Register for a FREE membership — it takes just a few moments — and you'll be able to post comments here and on any of our forums. If you're already a member, you can Log In to post a comment.

7 comments. Last comment 11 years ago by CASH Only.
Page 1 of 1

United States
Member #379
June 5, 2002
11296 Posts
Posted: August 21, 2006, 4:46 pm - IP Logged

This may be off-topic, but I heard that Pimlico Race Track, which hosts the Preakness Stakes, is/was in jeopardy of losing the second jewel of the Triple Crown. A number of states, like NY, have turned to video slots to help race tracks.

    Todd's avatar - Cylon 2.gif
    Chief Bottle Washer
    New Jersey
    United States
    Member #1
    May 31, 2000
    23778 Posts
    Posted: August 21, 2006, 5:04 pm - IP Logged

    Oh ... whew ... when you said you were going to post something off-topic I was preparing myself for another lucky for life bash.  At least it's just an off-topic horse track post.


    Check the State Lottery Report Card
    What grade did your lottery earn?


    Sign the Petition for True Lottery Drawings
    Help eliminate computerized drawings!

      johnph77's avatar - avatar
      United States
      Member #2987
      December 10, 2003
      832 Posts
      Posted: August 21, 2006, 7:55 pm - IP Logged

      Pimlico isn't the only track in trouble. Horse racing venues are facing decreasing attendance and (allowing for inflation) revenues for years. Coupled with the decreasing shares of pari-mutuel pots due to increased expenses and taxes the bettors are staying away in droves. Then consider the increased venues available for gambling - video lotteries and Keno, Native American casinos across the country, Internet gambling opportunities - it's no wonder. And horse racing only offers about one betting opportunity every half-hour at most.

      A lot of tracks have been closed already and there are few new facilities being constructed to replace them.



      Blessed Saint Leibowitz, keep 'em dreamin' down there..... 

      Next week's convention for Psychics and Prognosticators has been cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances.


        mrmst's avatar - disney14
        Glen Burnie, MD
        United States
        Member #427
        June 27, 2002
        208 Posts
        Posted: August 22, 2006, 7:13 am - IP Logged

        The only reason we don't have slots yet in Maryland (at the race track as well as elsewhere) is because our duly elected republican govenor (of a 2/3rds majority democratic state) wants it and the peolple want it, but the sore loser demcoratics who conrol the state house and senate are blocking it.  If they get their way and get the election rules changed for the upcoming election to allow for early (and often) voting in November, they will turn out the governor, elect one of their own (pretty boy Martin O'Malley) and then vote slots in anyway.


        Good luck and have a Disney Day ºoºHiding Behind Computer

          four4me's avatar - gate1
          United States
          Member #1701
          June 18, 2003
          8518 Posts
          Posted: August 22, 2006, 1:50 pm - IP Logged

          while slots might be good revenue for Maryland. The idea of allowing slots will practically turn the east coast into a gambling Mecca. With every state along the Atlantic coast joining in on the deal. Some people see this as a good thing while others see their world as they once new it slipping away. With high rise hotels gambling casino's and every kind of venue that goes along with it. This makes many of common folk uneasy. They don't want the filth, the thieves and all the other miscreants running through their neighborhoods. I live in the city near Fells Point MD we already have enough of this sort of thing going on without slots. Not to mention the parking situation which is un real if you live in one of these areas you have to park many blocks from your home unless you are fortunate to have a private parking space or garage.

          Maryland is surly headed in this direction because the new lottery machines will most likely allow you to place bets through their terminals. Slots will be the icing on the cake for them as thy will be able to track how much is taking in and paid out.

          once they put the slots at the track every tom, dick, harry, and sally will want slots in their establishment too.

            Litebets27's avatar - power
            United States
            Member #10465
            January 14, 2005
            6065 Posts
            Posted: August 22, 2006, 5:21 pm - IP Logged

            As I stated in another thread previously, slots are already here in Maryland on a small scale in many small establishments. I'm wondering how slots here can save the racing industry? It would definitely save the tracks themselves, and I guess the races will take a big share of the slots revenue.

            I'm also wondering how many times Erlich and his croonies will put their " hard earned", "poorman's tax" money into a slot to save the racing industry. Or better yet, how much of a take they will get from bringing slots here.

            I hear of Seniors going to Delaware or Jersey every once in awhile trying to chase a dream with their "monthly checks", can you imagine how many of them will be sitting in front of a slot machine day in and day out chasing that dream.

            Slot would open up a whole can of worms here that this State is not ready for. Crime is so out of hand here as it is.


            Feeling,  PRICELESS!!!Banana

            Come on Jackpot!!!

              United States
              Member #379
              June 5, 2002
              11296 Posts
              Posted: August 22, 2006, 7:10 pm - IP Logged

              The New Hampshire Sweepstakes is the first modern US lottery. It began in 1964, and its original drawings, months apart, were horse races. My late parents participated in the original drawing.