From the Daily Racing Form, October 26:
“The Pennsylvania Legislature…approved a massive expansion of gambling as part of a $32 billion budget package sent to Gov. Tom Wolf for his signature. The measure does not require new gambling sites to subsidize horse racing and breeding industries in the state. Unlike existing casinos in Pennsylvania, the new casinos will not be required to contribute a portion of their revenues to the state’s Thoroughbred and harness racing industries. Combined, those two industries receive approximately $250 million a year in breeding and purse subsidies from the existing casinos, an amount that could be threatened if gambling dollars migrate to new locations or the online sites.”
It is common knowledge that once this corporate welfare begins to dry up, much of horseracing – including almost all of the harness variety – will disappear. Hence, their palpable desperation. Look, we live in the greatest free-market economy the world has ever known; businesses and industries are supposed to sink or swim based solely on the merits of their goods and services. It should not be in the state’s purview to prop-up businesses that the buying-public has already passed judgement on (racing is yesterday; casinos and lotteries are where it’s at). So while this is a positive development, would that Pennsylvania take the next logical step and strip Racing of all – 250 million dollars’ worth – its subsidies. If and when that happens, it’ll be but a matter of time till I can add the likes of Parx, Penn, Presque Isle, etc. to this list.