With Corporate Welfare (Temporarily) Cut Off, Racing in New Mexico, Pennsylvania in Jeopardy

As we have repeatedly pointed out, the bulk of U.S. Racing only still exists because of corporate welfare; if this slots spigot were shut off, over half the tracks in this country would be shuttered, virtually overnight. In short, the masses have spoken, preferring other forms of gambling and entertainment, but state legislatures continue to send lifeboats to Racing. This, of course, leads to a triple wrong: Using taxpayer money to prop up a patently nonessential industry, that abuses and kills animals, at the expense of schoolchildren (for whom, ostensibly, state-sanctioned gambling is intended).

Two recent articles underscore horseracing’s tenuous state and provide us advocates hope. From the AP: “New Mexico’s horse tracks and their associated casinos have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. After a brief hiatus, races resumed at Ruidoso Downs in May but without spectators and the casinos remain closed under a public health order…. Without the slot machines and tables, some track owners have suggested losses per day could reach in to the tens of thousands of dollars.

From Play Pennsylvania: “Racing purses are, by law, largely paid for via about a 10% cut of retail casino slot profits. That means the short-term financial picture for racing is not entirely clear as casinos are opening with capacity restrictions, meaning less revenue…. The long-term finances for the industry are also murky due to an attempted funds diversion by Gov. Tom Wolf earlier in the year. … Wolf’s [for now] shelved plan was meant to divert $204 million annually from the support of racing purses and breeding programs to a proposed scholarship program for PA students….”

Hope, indeed.

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  1. This is hopeful but then I wonder what will happen to the thousands of unprofitable but healthy horses, colts, brood mares, etc.

    • There’s no need to wonder, Martha – the industry will send them to slaughter just like they do now – and WE will need to continue rescuing as many as we can just like we do now.

  2. Confidential…I am considering sending you a very private expose. You can use the info but not attribute it to me. And FYI…In California, the state gets a big cut of the racing revenue and this legislature promotes horse racing. Term limits has brought increased corruption. Y’all are doing a tremendously great job. Thank you from me and definitely from all the horses! SDB

    Sent from my iPhone


  3. Once the subsidies stop than horse racing will end on most tracks throughout the USA.
    That is a fact because, as Patrick points out, horse racing hasn’t been financially sustainable for years.
    Unfortunately, it won’t be the obvious moral issues of beating a racehorse to perform while watching it get crippled, crumble to the dirt with snapped-off bones, killed in action and/or getting bled-out on a slaughterhouse floor – no, those moral issues take a back seat to money.
    Billions in casino profits are going to horse racing instead of education and community essential services.
    Under normal circumstances this isn’t acceptable, but under a pandemic?
    It should be abundantly clear to politicans that their subsidies need to immediately end and this money needs to be diverted into critical areas that will literally save human and racehorse lives.

  4. Now that all these tracks have opened back up after the covid shutdown – I wonder how many will shut down for safety this week due to the excessive heat that is going to hit much of the Midwest. Temps are to hit mid to high 90s. We don’t even trot our horses around the indoor arena in that kind of heat, much less run them full speed in the highest heat of the day in the hot sun! I’m betting most won’t shut down since they are all so “grateful” they are making money and “providing jobs” again.

    • Good point, Peggy – last year, the We Support Horse Racing group (created because of the “negative publicity” – aka, dead racehorses – the industry was getting with the Santa Anita deaths) posted about how “drained” their “counter protestors” were from STANDING outside in the heat during the protests. Morons…they forgot the horses were made to RUN in that heat? – “pre-dehydrated” with Lasix? Well this IS the same group that supports the pro-slaughter organization Protect the Harvest – so we shouldn’t be surprised.

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