PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Governor Wolf’s office is warning that the state may have to shut down horse racing tracks in Pennsylvania because a fund used to regulate the industry has run dry.
That fund covers licensing, drug testing of the horses and other safety measures, and, by year’s end, it will be $9-million in the red, says Governor Wolf’s spokesman Jeff Sheridan:
“Without fixing that with a sustainable solution, it’s going to persist year over year and we can’t do that anymore.”
The problem: the fund is paid for with a tax on wagers on horses. Those wagers have seen a steep drop. In 2001, that tax brought in $31.8-million, but plummeted to $11-million in 2014.
That fix, Sheridan says, is a bill in the state senate that would have the horse racing industry take on the approximately $9-million dollar bill for drug testing.
Sheridan says if a deal is not reached by next Friday, they will begin a 30-day process to shut down the six tracks in Pennsylvania, including Parx in Bensalem, and Harrah’s in Chester.