Newswatch
 

History of Parimutuel Wagering
by Jeff David George
 

HTML conversion by Michael P. Owen, March 2000


2015: Drastic food shortages make horses -- which eat large quantities of the now-vanished grain -- more valuable as food than as recreational objects. Many areas pass laws requiring that horses be immediately slaughtered for meat, rather than allowing them to starve to death or consume valuable grain-substitutes. Interest in horse racing dies with the horses.

2023: "Crazy Joe" Harshman invents autoduelling, which quickly becomes the nation's most talked-about stadium sport.

2024: Fans flock to duelling arenas in every state. Average ticket price for a Friday night event featuring six duels tops $15. Hoping to jump in on the craze, investors open several hundred arenas across the country. Television networks begin to take a serious interest in autoduelling,
based on the success of UBNís "Live from the Armadillo" series, broadcast weekly from Austin, TX.

2027: As autoduelling technology improves, duels become shorter, faster and bloodier. By this point, most arena duels last less than 30 seconds. Using computer editing techniques, several cameras, and a five-minute broadcast delay, the networks are able to make a fifteen second duel last three minutes or longer on screen, capturing every shot for the viewing audience. Filling the twenty-minute gaps between duels with instant replays, interviews, and expert commentary and analysis, a network duelling show offers two to three hours of non-stop
entertainment.

2028: Ratings for autoduelling shows continue to climb; the dozen or so arena owners with TV contracts become millionaires. Meanwhile, attendance at duelling events is down 50 to 85% -- the fans prefer to stay home and watch the high-tech television coverage. Arenas without
network contracts languish as ticket prices plummet to less than $4.

2029: As most non-televised arenas are closing their doors, maverick investor Mark Granoff buys the bankrupt Cow Palace arena in San Francisco for less than half its value. Unable to compete for network contracts against nearby Candlestick Park, Granoff opens Cow Palace
for the 2029 season as the world's only betting arena, operating in accordance with parimutuel wagering laws set up for horse racing. Response is tremendous; grandstands at the Palace are fled to capacity for every event. By mid-season, the Palace is out-grossing Candlestick Park by almost two to one. Several other arenas around the country add parimutuel betting, and see a dramatic increase in attendance, as well as considerable income from the gambling itself.

2031: The AADA establishes the APWC -- the Autoduelling Parimutuel Wagering Committee -- to regulate wagering at AADA-sanctioned arenas. The APWC lobbies to legalize betting in all states, and establishes fair-play regulations prohibiting a duelist or any of his sponsors,
teammates, relatives or affiliates from wagering against him in a duel.

2035: The AADA and APWC successfully lobby to prohibit off-track betting in most states, protecting the interests of small, regional arenas.

Today: Most arenas in states which ahow parimutuel wagering feature betting. Many duellists supplement their income by placing bets on themselves. Rumors of duel-fixing circulate, but the practise of wagering on duelling events remains relatively clean.


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