Penn National preparing for horse racing return

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — The sports comeback continues to spread across Pennsylvania, and horse racing is one of the latest beneficiaries.

The Pennsylvania Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (HBPA) released a statement Saturday saying it expects approval to begin racing at Penn National on Friday, June 19.

What’s the Status of Horse Racing In PA?

When can horse racing resume in Pennsylvania? Even the Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission hasn’t a clue.

And that’s not because they haven’t asked PA Gov. Tom Wolf. The governor suspended racing right along with casino operations in mid-March to stem the onslaught of COVID-19 infections and deaths.

And there is no target date for racing to resume in PA, yet.

Late-breaking news updateA face-to-face meeting between Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration and members of horseman’s groups is now scheduled for Thursday [5/27], PlayPennsylvania has learned exclusively.

Don’t Raid the Horse Racing Fund in Pennsylvania

Opinion Piece

“In his 2020 state budget, Governor Tom Wolf has proposed student debt forgiveness for our PA state system graduates when they agree to stay in PA for 6 years after graduation. This is a bold initiative and worthy of exploration. The second oldest state in the US needs these skilled, eager young people to stay, work, and make a life in PA. On the surface there is not much to object to; however, the Governor’s proposal would be paid for with $200 million from the PA State Horse Racing Development Fund.

This fund was created by Act 71 of 2004 and uses proceeds from slots to support breeding of top-level race horses, to further strengthen our agricultural economy. In this budget scenario, the issue of addressing PA student loan debt now quickly becomes swapping futures, those of hard-working families and business owners for the futures of our kids. The film Sophie’s Choice comes to mind.

I strongly reject the perception that the horse racing industry in our state is run exclusively by wealthy horse owners and that the only ones who benefit economically are owners. Many owners form partnerships in order to share costs, and the cost to breed, train and care for a race horse is steep. It’s also a well- documented fact that this industry supports our local, regional, and state economy.

The list of direct and downstream businesses includes breeders, owners, trainers, farms that lease space, the breeding and training facility owners and workers, mechanics, manure haulers and composters, small and large animal veterinarians, veterinary pharmaceuticals, grain and hay farmers, feed and supply businesses (a business my family was in for nearly 100 years), shipping and transport, hotel and restaurant, software and many more. At this point…”

PA Governor proposes using Funds from Horse Racing to help with college tuition

“Three years ago the governor signed a bill to create that trust fund that couldn’t be touched, and now three years later he’s coming back and taking $200 million out of 250 dollars. All those jobs would be lost, all these horses would have to be re-homed, the economy would be devastated.” ~ Kim Hankins, the executive director of Meadows Standard Bred Owners Association

WASHINGTON, Pa. — Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf is proposing to cut $204 million from the Race Horse Development Fund and moving it to help college students with tuition.

The governor says the money would support the Nellie Bly tuition program, which provides financial assistance to targeted full-time students who agree to stay in Pennsylvania for the same number of years for which they receive the benefit.

Governor Wolf tells Channel 11′s Cara Sapida that the legislature would need to approve the transfer of the tax dollars going to purse winnings for owners, trainers and jockeys, and redirect them to this scholarship program.

Pete Peterson, executive director of the Pennsylvania Equine Coalition, told Channel 11 that money in the Race Horse Development Trust Fund comes from an assessment paid by casinos on their gross terminal revenues from slot machine gaming. The legislature noted in the 2017 Race Horse Industry Reform Act that the money isn’t funds of the Commonwealth and that the “Commonwealth shall not be rightfully entitled to any money” in the RHDTF.

Casino’s Impact on PA’s Horse Racing Industry

racino slots machine Annual Report on Casino Gaming’s Impact on PA’s Horse Racing Industry Published by PA Gaming Control Board

HARRISBURG, Pa., April 19, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Slot machine gaming in Pennsylvania generated $246 million to support the state’s horse racing industry, according to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board’s annual Racetrack Casino Benchmark Report, released today. The report, which covers calendar year 2015, is the 9 th compiled by the Gaming Control Board detailing the impact… [Read more…]