Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Thoroughbred interests blame Va.'s anti-gaming attitude for decline of their industry in the state

Virginia once had a thriving thoroughbred industry, but since 1996, no Virginia-bred horse has raced in the Kentucky Derby. “Breeder funds” of neighboring states that are dispensed from gambling revenues are a key reason for the decline, Tara Bahrampour reports for the Washington Post. (Post photo of thoroughbreds at Spring Hill Farm in Virginia by Andrea Bruce)

In several states, percentages of intake from gaming helps sustain breeder funds. Virginia breeders say their fund is meager because of an aversion to gambling among many Virginia legislators. Many horse trainers have moved their stables to take advantage of higher payouts from breeder funds in Maryland, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Florida. Access to betting is also a problem. Bahrampour writes that Virginia has nine betting venues, but the closest for Northern Virginia residents are in Richmond, “prompting many fans to travel to off-track venues in Maryland or West Virginia.”

The economic result of the situation is dire, compounded by encroaching development that has also threatened the horse culture. Glenn Petty, executive director of the Virginia Thoroughbred Association, told Bahrampour that he estimated Virginia loses $100 million a year in gambling revenue. "It's a $500 million industry [in Virginia], and yet the gaming that fuels a lot of it is seen as problematic. You see West Virginia and Maryland, if you'll pardon the expression, racing past us.” (Read more)

1 comment:

GP said...

Tara did a great job on the article, but I did't say Virginia was losing $100 million on gambling revenue -- I said VA loses $100 million a year in wagers that are placed in MD and WV that could be placed in VA. That costs Virginia's horsemen $8 million a year in purses, the VA Breeders Fund $1 million and the Commonwealth $2 million -- G. Petty.