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Slots have brought Pennsylvania horsemen $103 million

October 31, 2007

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Pennsylvania Act 135 of 2004 was widely hoped for by slot machine players and management alike, but another group also hailed that Act’s passing–the Standardbred and Thoroughbred horsemen of Pennsylvania, who receive a percentage of the “win” generated by slots at their venues, which have been termed “racinos” (racetracks and casinos).


Since Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs started the Pennsylvania slots era in November of 2006, state horsemen from both breeds have had a revenue flow of $100 million from slots--$103,685,503 to be precise, through this past Monday.


Of the slot revenue, for both breeds 80 percent is directed toward “overnight” races, the bread-and-butter workaday races that are the heart of any racetrack’s offerings. Four percent is dedicated to horsemen’s benefits and welfare.


At the harness races, the remaining 16 percent is split between the Sire Stakes and the Harness Breeders Fund; for the runners, their Breeders Fund gets the entire amount.


At the state’s harness tracks, Harrah’s Chester, near Philadelphia, has seen $28.1 million go into its three horsemen’s accounts since opening in January; Pocono, which as mentioned was the first racino to open late last year, has amassed $20.6 million; and The Meadows near Pittsburgh, which did not open until June, has rung up $10.8 million.


The Sire Stakes and the Harness Breeders Fund are both operated in-house by the Harness Racing Commission staff. Each has gained over $4.7 million so far, to be distributed in 2008. (Pennsylvania State Harness Racing Commission)


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