MSOA President Richard Gillock attributed the increase to the stability in the state’s horse racing industry produced by the Pennsylvania Legislature’s turnback of Gov. Tom Wolf’s proposed raid on the Pennsylvania Race Horse Development Fund (PRHDF), which provides about $230 million annually for purses and breeding. Wolf proposed diverting about $88 million from the fund in both 2022 and 2023, a grab that, if enacted, would have crippled — if not killed — racing in Pennsylvania.

Not only did the legislature refuse to consider the diversion, but it also added $5 million previously used for other purposes to the PRHDF annual allocation.

“This is a big win,” Gillock said. “The 2022 state budget has been approved, and the governor’s proposed raid is not part of it. We owe that to the strong support of our legislators, who recognize the irreplaceable impact of racing in Pennsylvania, which serves as a pillar of the Commonwealth’s agriculture sector and provides about 20,000 jobs and an annual economic impact estimated at $1.6 billion.”

Gillock praised the efforts of MSOA’s partners, including the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen’s Association and the Pennsylvania Equine Coalition. He noted that the team also worked with the legislature to kill a bill that would have allowed for more truck stop video gaming terminals (VGTs), which would cut racetrack handle.

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