Opinion: Massachusetts Horse Racing Fund Needs A New Objective

Earlier this year, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission approved the sale of Suffolk Downs to a real estate development company. Representatives of the track have said that they plan on conducting live racing and simulcasting through the end of 2018.

The likelihood that Thoroughbred racing will continue in the state after that appears doubtful. Suffolk Downs, like many racetracks around the country, had struggled with declining attendance, etc., for several years. In 2011, the Massachusetts legislature set up the Horse Race Development Fund, an account started to “get the industry back on its feet.”

A recent editorial in the Boston Globe points out that while the fund currently has some $15 million in its coffers – and it continues to grow, thanks to casino revenue – the money has done little to help grow the sport. For whatever reason, the writer says, many lawmakers in the state have been reluctant to broach the subject of possibly diverting some of the $15 million to help shortfalls elsewhere in the state budget. At least until now.

“It's a definite sign of progress that legislators like Karen Spilka, Mark Montigny, and Bradley Jones have broached changes to the horse-racing fund,” the Globe says. “The money in the fund isn't huge, in the context of the state's $39 billion budget, but unwinding the special-interest giveaway embodied in the 2011 legislation would represent a victory in its own right.”

“As a general matter, state aid should be aimed at helping build businesses that can eventually stand on their own, rather than keeping dying ones on artificial life support indefinitely.”

Read more in the Boston Globe

The post Opinion: Massachusetts Horse Racing Fund Needs A New Objective appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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