Auditor General Urges Lawmakers to Save Pennsylvania’s Horse Racing Industry

HARRISBURG, Pa. – Auditor General Eugene DePasquale is urging Pennsylvania lawmakers to act swiftly on legislation designed to rescue the State Racing fund.

After learning that the Department of Agriculture may begin to shut down the state’s horse racing industry next week because the State Racing Fund is now depleted.

“Shutting down the horse racing industry would be devastating to the 500 horse breeders in Pennsylvania and the 23,000 people who are supported by the racing industry. I urge the House of Representatives to swiftly act on legislation that would rescue this fund and thus protect an industry that generates $1.6 billion in annual economic activity in Pennsylvania.”

“Legislation, however, is not the only solution to the racing fund’s woes.  In our audit of the racing fund released in June 2014, we warned that the health of the fund was in imminent danger. While I understand that the Department of Agriculture is taking our recommendations seriously and is working on ways to put the fund back on solid ground permanently. Today’s news makes it is clear that those efforts must be accelerated to ensure the viability of the racing industry in Pennsylvania.

“The horse racing industry — like every industry — needs certainty and stability in regulation and oversight from the state.  A shutdown could well cause irreparable harm.”

The State Racing Fund pays for regulatory and oversight activities that include, safety measures to protect jockeys, and staffing the equine laboratories that conduct drug testing to protect horses and ensure the integrity of the races.

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