Other than gratuitously emphasizing the subservient nature of horse racing to their gaming operations, what possible reason is there to change the name of Philadelphia Park to “Parx Racing at Philadelphia Park”?
Actually, on their website, Philadelphia Park isn’t mention at all, just “Parx (big print) racing (small print)”. Will perpetuating the “hip” fad of misspelling words draw in a younger crowd? What a brilliant advertising move! Not. Honestly, some lame (and doubtlessly overpaid) advertising firm came up with this pathetic idea because they know nothing about the sport of horse racing. Or, they just don't care, which is probably more true.
Are racing fans naturally mindless slots players who will flock to the new gaudy Parx Casino, or will said slots players bother to venture out of the windowless tomb of flashing lights and dinging machines to watch horses run? Hardly. So, I don’t understand what possible benefit it is to change the name except for ignoble self-aggrandizing purposes that basically spits on the spirit and letter of Pennsylvania gaming law which is intended to support the horse racing industry first and foremost.
According to House Bill 2330 (also known as the Pennsylvania Race Horse Development and Gaming Act):
“The authorization of limited gaming by the installation and operation of slot machines as authorized in this part is intended to enhance live horse racing, breeding programs, entertainment and employment in this Commonwealth.”
Notice it doesn't say "to enhance gaming in this Commonwealth." It continues:
“The authorization of limited gaming is intended to positively assist the Commonwealth’s horse racing industry, support programs intended to foster and promote horse breeding and improve the living and working conditions of personnel who work and reside in and around the stable and backside areas of racetracks.”
In addition to a myriad of deficiencies at Pennsylvania tracks in terms of the physical plants and facilities for workers, horses and fans, how does something as simple as a name change that eliminates or degrades historical terminology or even “racing” itself reflect something “positive”?
Looking down the list of tracks for which Equibase provides official entries, only two other "racinos" have reverted to including their casino operations in their official title: "Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races" and "Mountaineer Casino Ractrack & Resort." Somehow, that doesn't surprise me, considering the entities involved. Regardless, it’s an ugly trend, and I despise the owners of Parx for it. As a citizen of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, I also—unfortunately—feel the state Gaming Control Board couldn’t care less about this issue, the sport of horse racing in general, or even upholding the actual law enacted to permit gaming.