Wondering how to start an off-track betting business? We take you step-by-step from start to success.
Breaking Into the Gambling & Gaming Industry
In the U.S., gambling is a highly regulated industry. In most states, gambling businesses are illegal and not a viable startup target for entrepreneurs interested in launching a small-scale venture.
Off-track betting has historically been exempt from anti-gambling laws, but the industry is still highly regulated and vulnerable to statutory changes. Additionally, online gaming and an overall decline in horse race betting has further weakened the industry, making an off-track betting business one of the most challenging startups for today's entrepreneurs.
If you are committed to the concept of an off-track betting business startup, the first step is to determine your state's statutory requirements. Licensing or certification is a given, so you'll need to allow time to obtain proper documentation before you launch your off-track betting startup.
Off-Track Betting Startup Strategies
After you have evaluated the regulatory landscape, you may be able to leverage several strategies to get your off-track betting business off the ground. While horse racing used to be enough to carry an off-track betting operation, today's off-track betting parlors take bets on a wide range of sports events. At a minimum, you'll need to familiarize yourself with the off-track gambling culture and position your startup to benefit from the full spectrum of betting opportunities.
One of the ways to get your foot in the door is to approach an existing gaming center about the possibility of opening an off-track betting parlor within their facility. The gaming center could then either charge a flat-fee for space rental or take a percentage of revenue. Either way, the synergy between your off-track betting parlor and the gaming center can generate additional traffic and income for both businesses.
Best Practices for Writing an Off-Track Betting Company Business Plan
Many new off-track betting business owners feel unprepared for the challenge of writing a business plan.
The good news is that business plan help may be closer than you think. These days, there are tons of great resources and solutions available to support the business plan writing process.
For more information, take a look at our Business Plan Help section.
Look Over the Competition
Before you open an off-track betting business within your community, it's a good idea to find out how you will fit in the competitive landscape. Use the link below to find competitors near you. Just enter your city, state and zip code to get a list of off-track betting businesses in your community.
Gain a knowledge of how existing firms have positioned themselves in the marketplace, and then design your business in a way that sets you apart from the others.
Getting Advice from Experienced Entrepreneurs
After you've evaluated your local competitors, the next step is to speak with somebody who is already in the business. If you think owners of nearby off-track betting businesses will give you advice, think again. Why would they want to educate a future competitor?
However, an entrepreneur who owns an off-track betting business outside of your community may be willing to share their entrepreneurial wisdom with you, once they realize that you are not going to directly compete with them in their community. Many business owners are happy to give advice to new entrepreneurs. Our estimate is that you may have to contact many business owners to find one who is willing to share his wisdom with you.
Where can you find somebody who runs an off-track betting business on the other side of the country to talk to?
Simply, try our helpful link below, type in a random city/state or zipcode, and start calling.
Benefits & Drawbacks of an Off-Track Betting Business Acquisition
Although there are significant benefits to buying an off-track betting business (rather than launching a startup), it's important to weigh the pros and cons before you commit to a purchase scenario.
PROs: Acquired off-track betting businesses should be profitable right out of the gate; they should also be capable of demonstrating a loyal customer base, brand identity and operational efficiencies.
CONs: However, purchased companies can also come with pre-existing challenges and/or liabilities. Ultimately, it may be more difficult to tailor a purchased business to your ownership style.
Is Franchising the Right Option?
Franchising doesn't guarantee success, but it can be a lower-risk way to start a business.
Before you consider starting an off-track betting business, it's worthwhile to check out whether there are good franchise opportunities available that might alleviate your startup process.
The link below gives you access to our franchise directory so you can see if there's a franchise opportunity for you. You might even find something that points you in a completely different direction.
These additional resources regarding getting started as an entrepreneur may be of interest to you.
If you currently own an off-track betting business, these resources will come in handy:
If you sell to off-track betting businesses, we've got better information for you elsewhere on our site. These resources are more appropriate for you:
If you are interested in starting a different kind of business, please browse our directory of guides below.