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|Impact of Expanded Gaming in Ohio and Foal Registration
Impact of Expanded Gaming in Ohio and Foal Registration
- Horse Racing is Already a Major Industry in Ohio
- Ohio is currently the largest producer of standardbred foals in the United States and has registered over 3,700 more foals in the last seven years than the next closest state.
- There are more harness races conducted in the State of Ohio than any other state and the American Horse Council estimates the horse racing industry in Ohio to be a $900 million industry that provides 25,000 jobs and involves over 250,000 people.
- Horse racing produces over $30 million annually in taxes and this does not include income taxes paid by participants on their earnings and winnings.
- Yet Ohio isn’t operating on a level playing field with the States around it
- The request for slot machines for horse racing is no different than a farmer asking for a level playing field to sell his beans or corn in other states.
- The implementation of slots would simply allow Ohio horse racing to compete on a level playing field with the states around it.
- Arkansas, Delaware, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Pennsylvania and West Virginia all have some form of expanded gaming (Casinos, Riverboats or slot machines) and all but Michigan subsidize their horse racing purses in one fashion or another from these funds.
- Like beans and corn to a farmer, horse racing is the product for the horsemen in the State of Ohio and the horsemen need a marketplace to “sell” their product.
- This is not an expansion of gambling in Ohio or bringing something into this state that is not already here. The Columbus Dispatch estimates that almost 70% of West Virginia‚€™s slot machine revenues come from Ohio. According to various reports, Ohioans gamble over $300 million in various states outside our borders already.
- Horse racing doesn’t operate in a vacuum it’s presence has a profound impact on the agricultural community in Ohio
- Farms and horsemen in the state purchase millions of dollars of feed, hay and other ancillary items from producers in Ohio. A family Standardbred breeding farm in Ohio estimates its annual usage at over 600 tons of feed and 20,000 bales of hay. The hay was purchased directly from local farmers at $4.00 per bale. These Ohio producers consider horse racing to be a vital niche market. With the inclusion of slots, this market would dramatically increase.
- In other states that have legalized expanded gambling, there have been substantial increases in training and breeding operations, investment in farms, barns, livestock and the need for additional veterinary services. In addition, there has been an explosion of quality foals being born. Indiana’s production has increased over 350% since Casinos were legalized. West Virginia’s foal production has doubled and Ontario, already one of the world’s largest producers of racing foals, jumped an additional 22%.
- Harness racing has been in Ohio for over 125 years, it is an attraction which promotes attendance and has provided years of family entertainment at the state’s agricultural fairs (Harness Racing is Currently Conducted at 70 County Fairs).
- Implementation of slots at the state’s racetracks would increase funds going to the fairs through the Ohio Fairs Fund. The Ohio Fairs Fund, created in 1955, provides money for the purses, which the horses race for at fairs, and it also sends a yearly stipend to all of Ohio’s 94 agricultural fairs. As purses increase with an infusion of the slot revenue, the quality of horses will improve. Wagering will go up with the increased quality of racing and the increased wagering will directly impact the Fairs Fund as well.
- Horse Racing and agriculture would not be the only benefactors, as the whole state would share in the wealth
- Horsemen and agricultural producers would not be the only ones benefiting from the legalization of slot machines at racetracks, however. A marketing firm estimates that slot machinesin Ohio would bring in over $900 million annually in revenue. Under the proposed model, that would be an extra $500 million in the coffers of the State of Ohio.
- These funds will be earmarked for scholarships or money for education in the Buckeye State. With the state’s lottery and bingo already benefiting children and schools, this wouldn’t be a new source of revenue, but a substantially expanded one.