WE WERE dismayed by the Globe’s Sept. 8 editorial (“Casino bill is deeply flawed; rank and file should kill it’’), which argued that using 9 percent of revenues from a slots parlor to subsidize purses at horse tracks is unwarranted.
These revenues would have benefits far beyond Suffolk Downs. In fact, most Massachusetts residents might be surprised to learn that much of that money would end up right in their own communities.
Increased purses provide a much-needed boost to the horse breeders and farms across the Commonwealth. First, this means preservation of open space for horse and other farms that grow enormous amounts of crops required for horses. Second, it grows jobs at small businesses that sell power equipment or train horses and support staff and generates work for veterinarians, animal dentists, and blacksmiths.
Many other states, including Maine, New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and West Virginia, have made a similar investment by targeting a percentage of revenues to support this industry. The results are a robust agricultural economic engine for breeding and racing that increased farm acreage and resulted in secure green jobs.
Thoroughbred racing provides 1,200 jobs and puts several hundred million dollars annually into the Massachusetts economy. For every dollar invested in breeding and racing of thoroughbred horses, there could be a two-fold return to the state’s economy.
Horse racing can flourish again in Massachusetts, but only if we fuel the economic engine.
Massachusetts Thoroughbred Breeders Association
New England Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association