The Social World of Horse Racing

In Lake Tahoe, there is a group of dedicated local residents who regularly wager on horse races.

The majority of players are males with no particular skill for winning consistently.

While offtrack horse betting differs slightly from wagering at the racetrack, the two activities, and their participants, for all intents and purposes, are interchangeable.

Three of lake Tahoe's largest casinos (Harrah's, High Sierra, and Caesars) offer offtrack betting on leading tracks in New York, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Florida, and California, with many of the races televised.

Horse race wagering and sports betting are combined in an area of the casino called a race and sports book, where information on races and sports events is available and bets are taken and paid off.

The books have separate betting windows for horse racing and sports; horse players and sports bettors congregate at long tables with comfortable seating near their respective wagering areas, thus separating themselves into groups.

Though in close proximity to each other, the two groups interact little. Books are also separate from other casino areas.

However, three of Lake Tahoe's biggest casinos offer sports betting.

As mentioned earlier, sports betting is combined with horse race wagering at race and sports books within the casinos.

The three Lake Tahoe casino books take bets on all professional major league baseball, basketball, and football games, as well as on major college football and basketball contests.

Although odds are quoted on National Hockey League Contests, these games get little action.

Sports bettors at lake Tahoe are predominantly male, white, and between thirty and fifty-five years old, have been gambling since their teens, and come from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds.

The vast majority are not professionals and depend on non-gambling earnings for their livelihood. As among horse players, there is a hard core of sports patrons who attend frequently and who consider themselves regulars.

All the casinos have large satellite dishes that can pick up televised games broadcast from locations throughout the United States . The whole televising of games has stimulated sports wagering.

Most of the Lake Tahoe bettors indicated that they prefer to wager on TV games because they like to see what actually occurs on the field.

Watching televised games allows bettors to feel more personally involved with the action. Bettors are kept up to date on virtually all major sporting contests by a CQI sports ticker, an electronic strip that displays pertinent information.

Generally the scores of baseball games are provided each half inning, football scores are given each quarter.

The ticker also provides a variety of other sports information, such as statistical averages, weather data, player trades, attendance figures, sport association meetings, and personnel changes.

The sports ticker serves essentially the same function as the Dow Jones stock ticker. The primary activity in this social world is obviously betting on sports events.

Virtually every day of the year there are contests on which Lake Tahoe bettors can wager. The daily gambling sessions are governed by the starting times of the contests and therefore take on a regular character.

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