A story from the New Jersey Star-Ledger (via the Paulick Report) notes that the New Jersey state legislature will hold hearings on a proposed law to allow off-track betting in selected bars and restaurants. (Link - NJ.com: N.J. lawmakers consider whether to allow bars, restaurants to take bets on horse racing)
As noted in the linked article, a benefit of expanding wagering facilities into bars and restaurants is a significant reduction in start-up costs, as opposed to building brick-and-mortar OTBs. Additionally, since you are theoretically bringing the off-track option to sports bars, where the clientele is more diverse than simply horse racing fans, you have the potential to reach a new audience.
I've always thought that it would be a great idea to implement wagering access at bars and restaurants, especially those that cater to hard-core sports fans. When I was down in Arizona for Spring Training several years ago, there was a sports bar right across the street from the Peoria Sports Complex called McDuffy's. On one side of the bar they had multiple TVs showing the simulcast feeds from several tracks, along with an area to the side for purchasing a Form and making bets.The Pac-10 basketball tournament was going on at that time so my Dad and I had a few beers, watched some basketball, and bet on a few races to pass the time, as did several other people sitting around us.
Expansion of off-track betting options into sports bars is one way that horse racing can make it easier to wager on their product AND introduce the sport to those that are, at most, casual fans. Lowering barriers and expanding into untapped areas are keys to achieving those goals