PA Gov. Wolf’s move to end horse racing subsidy a good bet

PA Gov. Wolf's move to end horse racing subsidy a good bet.

TAKE ACTION PENNSYLVANIANS

Here is why.

PHILA. ENQUIRER EDITORIAL | 15 FEB 2020

For 16 years, Pennsylvania has been saddled with an obligation to prop up a flailing horse race industry. In 2004, the state legalized gaming in large part to create a channel of money to flow to the Race Horse Development Fund, which supports breeders, owners, horses, farms, jockeys, and other racing-related expenses.

Since that time, the industry has gotten close to $3 billion dollars from the staggering $27 billion in gross revenue from slot machines — that is, the money people lose feeding slot machines all over the state.

That’s a lot of money — about $240 million per year — that should have by now stabilized and improved the sector. It hasn’t.

According to racetrack casino benchmark reports filed with the state Gaming Control Board, almost every data point connected to the performance of Pennsylvania racing shows a decline. The number of wagers, the number of races, the number of horses, the purses paid, and the attendance at tracks: all in decline, a trend going back years.

Layer those problems on top of growing outcry over the treatment and deaths of racehorses around the country. Starting in 2018, for example, a rash of horse deaths at Santa Anita Park in California led one industry commenter to note, “Poorly bred, overraced, exhausted horses being whipped toward the finish line is not a sport; it’s an exercise in sadistic exploitation.”

A report last year by PennLive/Patriot-News revealed that 87 horses died in Pennsylvania in 2018 alone.

Throw in a recent cheating scandal, and we have to ask, not for the first time: Why are we subsidizing this?

Those supporting the industry claim that the money supports agricultural jobs which boosts the state economy, and by funding bigger purses, more people will bet. The reality doesn’t back that up.

With so many critical and human problems this state faces, the unquestioning propping up of an industry that has shown no promise of improving is outrageous.

That’s why Gov. Wolf gets credit for his latest proposal to use about $200 million of that annual money to fund scholarships for Pennsylvania students to attend Pennsylvania colleges. It’s about time.

• Read more at https://www.inquirer.com/opinion/editorials/race-horse-gambling-pennsylvania-scholarships-editorial-20200215.html »

Action Alert

• Pennsylvanians only, please contact Governor Wolf using his Office’s quick and easy form, stating that you agree Pennsylvania should put an immediate end to horse racing subsidies and instead spend that money on education and other beneficial programs. Thank you!


Fund for Horses Logo

Why we call for an end to U.S. horse racing

Racehorse in red hood. The Horse magazine online.

We call for an end to U.S. horse racing because it is past reforming. The horse has bolted.

Additionally, there appears to be no one in American horse racing genuinely interested in, or knowledgeable and capable of, reforming it. If we are wrong then show us who they are, what they purport to do and when they are going to start doing it.

In the meantime horse racing apologists, please do not trot out that piece of feeble legislation, The Horse Racing Integrity Act, as an example. It will not remedy the problems it is chiefly designed for in the long term. Once the drug authority comes in and sets it all up, it puts U.S. horse racing back in charge. The Horse Racing Integrity Act is a fox guarding the henhouse piece of legislation. It is a smoke and mirrors tactic designed to give the appearance of reform.

Then there is the breeding aspect of horse racing where all of this really begins.

Modern American racehorses are bred to breakdown, and as a result are constantly breaking down. They will continue to do so until the American racehorse has been bred to restore balance and durability. Trying to get and keep racehorses on the racecourse the way they are bred now is the major contributing factor for the drugging, doping and debilitating “therapies” practiced on them.

How about the tens of thousands of racehorses who are sent to a grisly and terrifying death by slaughter. What about them? And what about the persistent rumors of horse racing employed lobbyists buying off politicians in Washington DC to keep the SAFE Act banning horse slaughter from passing.

How does American horse racing stay in business? Gambling, baby, gambling. Oh, and let’s not forget those tasty millions of State governmental subsidies. Your tax dollars at work.

We conclude with this. The only way to protect racehorses from the cruel and fatal practices of American horse racing is to end horse racing. What else is there?

We didn’t invite ourselves to this day. Horse racing has brought us here.
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“The horse has bolted” is an English expression which means someone trying to prevent something from happening, but have done so too late to prevent damage from being done.