CASINO WATCH

SB 1010 IS "BEATING A DEAD HORSE"

"Basically, we are losing money,'' (Colonial Downs) owner Jeffrey Jacobs said. "The track is not bringing in enough money and we are getting behind on our bills. If we don't make money we are going to go out of business.''
Virginia Racing Commission Richmond Newspapers Inc. 11/16/99

Owner Richard Duchossois closed Arlington International in October 1997, saying he had lost $70 million in the last decade from what he considered over-regulation of the horse racing industry and tough competition for gambling dollars from riverboat casinos.
Chicago Tribune February 3, 1999

NEW KENT - Colonial Downs will announce a financial restructuring plan within two months as it faces $6 million in losses this year, the track's major owner said Wednesday. Jeffrey P. Jacobs said filing for bankruptcy protection is an option.
Associated Press 9/23/98

It's anybody's guess what happens next in the knotty, 2-year-old Woodlands bankruptcy case. A federal judge last week granted a request by creditors to convert the financially troubled track from a slow Chapter 11 financial reorganization case into an involuntary Chapter 7 liquidation proceeding. The Woodlands' owners have sought for years to install slots and other casino games to compete with Kansas City's riverboats. Grace has the same intention...
By RICK ALM Kansas City Star 06/09/98

During The Woodlands' annual relicensing review Friday at the Kansas City, Kan., track, commission Chairman Gene Olander asked officials to explain recent public comments by co-owner Bill Grace that unless the Kansas Legislature approves a bill paving the way for legal slot machine gambling, the track would be closed.
By RICK ALM - The Kansas City Star 03/17/00

The owners of The Downs at Santa Fe are closing the track indefinitely, saying it is costing too much money. "It just does not make any sense financially," said Joe Little, a member of the board of directors for owners PTE, Inc. "We can't keep losing money." Little would not specify how much the track is losing, only that it is "about a million dollars" a year. Track owners are hinging the future of their industry on the promise of quick cash from slot machines
Albuquerque Tribune 11/23/97

VA: Colonial Downs is on track to lose $3 million to $4 million this year unless it can get relief from its financial commitments in the next 30 days. . .
AP 5/21/98

NEW YORK, Oct 6 (Reuters) - New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani has put the Off-Track Betting Corp. on the block. ``This is the last important step in the turn around of OTB, which was once considered the only money losing bookmaker in town,'' Giuliani said. Star Entertainment announced this month it had signed an agreement to buy the track from Pojoaque Pueblo. The pueblo has said it lost $3 million in two seasons of racing before closing the track.
AP 12/20/99

FARMINGTON, N.M. (AP) - SunRay Park and Casino is consistently losing money. The casino and racetrack has lost more than $2.9 million dollars since it opened in July 1999, said general manager Byron Campbell. "The return on investment isn't there,"
Campbell Las Vegas Sun 7/13/00

Race Track a Victim of Competition From Casinos - And so went the final days of thoroughbred racing at the track, which is closing Saturday after 53 years.
5/30/98 The New York Times CO

"The endangered species in Massachusetts is the horse industry," said L Giuliano, a horse owner and breeder at the Plainridge track and president of the state's Harness Horsemen Association.
The Associated Press 4/3/0

"Tracks are losing money on each live race day,"
Albuquerque Journal 12/15/98

FL: Barring any new legislation this session, which track officials admit is a long shot, the family-run 77-year-old race track will probably fold after its season ends in May.
3/18/1 Miami Herald

Kentucky state Rep. Denver Butler, D-Louisville Lexington Herald-Leader 6/23/7
Racing, Butler acknowledged, needs a shot in the arm

The rub is that not many people are into horse racing these days. The sport has been squeezed by the the proliferation of other gambling outlets that provide more and quicker bang for the buck.
WSJ 11/6/98

. . . an increasing number of horse industry officials are viewing slots or video lottery terminals as an economic necessity for some tracks' survival... 'We are on the small end of the wagering dollar,' added Telisport Putsavage, counsel of the National Thoroughbred Racing Assn.
The Cincinnati Post 3/19/99

There is a certain amount of gloom around Oaklawn these days. The track's annual attendance has dropped by 500,000 visitors from 1992 to 2000. Business is down 10 percent from last year. Is Arkansas horse racing worth saving? "Right now, our backs are against the wall," said Oaklawn General Manager Jackson. "We're out of bullets." Oaklawn is lobbying to lower taxes on bets placed at the track, some say the track's prospects are still uncertain.
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette 3/4/1

The state agency announced less than a month ago that it was withdrawing its troopers from traffic-directing duty outside the racetrack, citing costs. . .
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Inc. 2/6/01

The only way to revive horse racing in the longterm, they say, is to follow the lead of neighboring Delaware and permit slot machines at the tracks.
Philadelphia Newspapers Inc. 8/23/8

Recovering from near bankruptcy, the Mountaineer Racetrack and Gaming Resort in Chester prospers today because of a decadelong increase in the number of video slot machines.
WV GAZETTE-MAIL 2/20/00

Since being legalized at tracks in the early 1990s, video lottery machines represent a growing percentage of all income earned at the tracks. Tracks in Wheeling and Charleston Town may have closed without the video machines. The Lottery's 1995-96 annual report notes that West Virginia's once-large pari-mutuel industry "now suffers from an aging player base, high overhead and the overall disinterest in live racing. ..."
SUNDAY GAZETTE-MAIL 12/27/98

Maryland's racing industry is said to be on the skids. It is suffering not only from the declining popularity of racing nationwide, track owners say, but also from the competition of other tracks that now rely on slot machines to attract the gambling public. To save the tracks in Maryland, owners are seeking state help.Their favorite kind ... bring in the slots . . .
6/16/97 The Washington Post

OLYMPIA - After getting legislative help for Washington's ailing horse-racing industry in recent years, the founder of Emerald Downs racetrack says if lawmakers don't give him what he wants this year, he won't be back. Since the track was built in 1995, lawmakers have approved a tax break and an expansion of gambling to help Emerald Downs. For the second year in a row, track executives say that without more help the money-losing Auburn track could go out of business. "We continue to bail out this dying industry, and I think at some point it has to stop," said Sen. Margarita Prentice, D-Seattle, who voted against yesterday's measure.
by David Postman Seattle Times Olympia 3/4/98

"The two horse tracks couldn't remain open without some of the monies they get off video lottery," said Mark Muchow, director of research at the Tax Department. Simulcasts operate throughout the day, some continuing past midnight. But now it's video lottery machines that keep players at Tri-State until 2:30 a.m. on weekdays and 3 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays.
DAILY MAIL CAPITOL REPORTER 5/1/98

The National Thoroughbred Racing Association on Friday released the business plan that is supposed to revive an ailing sport. The sport is in trouble not because of inadequate advertising and promotion, but because customers didn't like its traditional product.
December 14, 1997 The Washington Post

But the industry has been on the run the past 25 years. New tracks bombed, old ones closed, and daily handles, attendance and television ratings plummeted because of lotteries and casinos, which offered instant gratification and easy betting to a younger generation turned off by the ponies. Birmingham Turf Club in Alabama closed for a year to reorganize. Ak-Sar-Ben in Nebraska, once one of the leading tracks in the Midwest, folded in 1996. Not surprisingly, thoroughbred racing's share of the U.S. gambling dollar declined from 28 percent in 1971 to 10 percent in 1985. By 1998, its share had shrunk to about 6 percent. Prairie Meadows opened in 1988 in Altoona, Iowa, and filed for bankruptcy three years later. It saved itself in 1995 by installing slots.
Denver Rocky Mountain News

Even with slots, racetracks may not be able to catch riverboat casinos, says Shannon Bybee, executive director of the International Gaming Institute in Las Vegas. " There has been a steady decline in horse-race betting across the country," Mr. Bybee said. For horse tracks to flourish in the next century, Mr. Bybee said, they will have to create a hybrid gambling facility incorporating both track betting and casino games. "Slot machines at a track would attract more people and help keep their attention between races," Mr. Bybee said.
January 17, 1999 The Cincinnati Enquirer

In the past 15 years, Americans have been betting more on horses as a result of simulcasting -- but their share of the gambling dollar has dropped hard. Simulcast wagering rose from $2.25 billion in 1982 to $3.25 billion in 1997. But racing's hold on the public has flagged: The amount gambled on horses in terms of the percentage of U.S. personal income has halved in those 15 years. Casinos' revenues, meantime, have quadrupled, to $20.5 billion annually.
1/25/99 Lexington Herald-Leader

When Mountaineer pioneered the use of modified slot machines in West Virginia more than 10 years ago, the idea was to help support the lagging horse racing operations there. Following years of lobbying by the gambling industry, the state's four dog and horse tracks now allow gambling on coin-drop slot machines. MRT's report shows why the industry favors the coin slots. Slot gambling now far overshadows horse race betting, the company said. What's more, the slots in Mountaineer's Speakeasy Gaming Saloon are nearly twice as profitable as those at the track.
Gazette Online 11/16/00

Fairmount Park said Friday that lawmakers might consider a shorter season, tax breaks or adding video gambling to help the struggling racetrack. The track would welcome the addition of video poker or slot machines, said Brian Zander, VP and general manager of Fairmount.
8/2/97 St. Louis Post-Dispatch

N.J.: The Meadowlands' thoroughbred meeting has dwindled over the years in duration, quality and popularity; after attracting crowds that averaged nearly 18,000 a night during its inaugural season in 1977, attendance fell to barely 5,000 a night last fall.
The Washington Post 8/2/00

(Governor) establishes a blue ribbon commission to study the financially troubled racing industry.
12/23/00 Boston Globe Mass.