Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Report Recommends Restoring Racing Funds ; Greyhound Advocates Unhappy over Industry Stakeholders' Proposal

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Report Recommends Restoring Racing Funds ; Greyhound Advocates Unhappy over Industry Stakeholders' Proposal

Article excerpt

A group of racing industry stakeholders is hoping state lawmakers will reverse their recent actions and restore racing funds to levels last seen two years ago, according to a report that was recently accepted by the West Virginia Racing Commission. The report, which was drafted by 20 representatives of the greyhound and thoroughbred industry, includes several recommendations the group believes would benefit the industry.

Their recommendations include giving more flexibility to set racing calendars. Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races and Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack and Resort are required to apply for 220 and 210 live dates a year for thoroughbred and greyhound racing under the current law.

Another recommendation of the group was to allow advanced- deposit wagering, which would permit those in West Virginia to place wagers online or over the telephone.

"This form of wagering already exists in many jurisdictions throughout the country, the group wrote. "However, because it is not allowed and monitored in West Virginia, the state does not receive the benefits in terms of taxable revenue.

The report also called for restoring purse and breed development percentages to pre-2014 levels.

"Restoration of the purse fund to this extent would provide some certainty to investors - racetracks; small business owners; Thoroughbred and Greyhound breeders, owners, and trainers; and veterinarians and other entities who have an economic impact on our communities, the group said in its Reflect, Re-imagine, Restore report.

In addition, the industry experts, which include West Virginia Greyhound and Breeders Association President Sam Burdette and West Virginia Racing Association President John Cavicini, are hoping to restore a portion of revenue that has been diverted to fund workers' compensation programs.

The idea behind the report was to review the challenges facing the industry and to come up with potential solutions.

The recommendations were compiled in a 12-page report that was presented to the state Racing Commission on Oct. …

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