Being the middle child, I learned early on that I had to share with my other siblings. As my mom used to put it, “Sharing is caring.” I was reminded of the concept this past track season when I heard that bettors at Saratoga Race Course could donate a portion of their winnings to the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (TAA), a nonprofit organization that awards grants to help retired racehorses, at self-service betting terminals.
The initiative was first unveiled in Saratoga Springs at the Round Table Conference on Matters Pertaining to Racing in August 2017, having originally been proposed by—wait for it—People For The Ethical Treatment Of Animals (PETA). The concept so intrigued the Stronach Group—the owner of racetracks such as Santa Anita Park and Gulfstream Park—that it tested the philanthropy-on-the-go idea via a pop-up interface created by subsidiary AmTote International, a wagering technology firm. Giving became as easy as responding to a single screen prompt—and the process was wholly tax-deductible.
The easy-to-use AmTote terminals became so popular that the New York Racing Association (NYRA) installed them at all of its tracks. Maryland’s Laurel Park also bought in, and back in September, Florida’s Tampa Bay Downs became yet another convert. “We try to be very progressive with donations and realize that the sport has to go full circle,” says Margo Flynn, Vice President of Marketing at Tampa Bay Downs. “We have to be able to support the animals that support us, from beginning to end. So we’re pleased and proud to be a part of it.”
The next time I pick a winner at the track, I’ll have to remember what my mom taught me. Because she was right.