Pennsylvania has a new law on horse racing and casinos

The law seeks the funding of the Pennsylvania horse racing through casino revenue.

US.- Governor Tom Wolf signed funding and oversight reforms into law this week. His administration had recently declared that the horse racing industry money problems were severe enough to warrant a shutdown.

The industry’s money problems begin after a big drop in horse bets. State Agriculture Secretary, Russell Redding, said wagers have dropped 71 percent over the past 15 years. “It was real. I mean, we had a crisis of funding,” said Redding. “You couldn’t pay the operations of the commission, the operations of the tracks. You couldn’t cover the drug-testing costs.”

The fates of the horse racing industry and the casino industry have been intertwined since Pennsylvania legalised slot machines back in 2004, as a strategy to revive horse racing. According to Redding, the long-term future of horse racing in the Pennsylvania depends on luring in enough bettors and casinos will make their contribution.

Under the new law, both industries negotiated compromise increases fees and operating costs for horse racing and a state fund supported by slot machines. Furthermore, the law provides for a state marketing budget of US$2.4 million a year starting next July, to promote, horse racing in Pennsylvania for the first time. Those funds will also come from slot machines revenue.