A resolution approved Wednesday seeking legislation to give the state Racing Commission authority to set the number of live racing days at the state’s thoroughbred and greyhound tracks could be a first step in reviving the struggling racing industry in the state, its sponsor said."We've put a lot of thought in this," the resolution's sponsor said, "and we feel the best way to bring the industry back is to make it less visible and less frequent. It's advanced marketing theory, you probably wouldn't understand."
“This industry is in serious transition,” Commissioner Bill Phillips said. "If by 'transition' you mean tanking faster than Louie Gohmert at a MENSA meeting."
Part of the resolution calls on the commission to work with stakeholders to come up with proposed legislation to either reduce the mandated number of racing days at the four tracks, or give the commission flexibility to set those numbers."To be clear, one of those numbers is 0," Commissioner Phillips said.
With continuing declines in both live and simulcast wagering, and legislation cutting the state subsidy of racing purses by more than $8 million a year, the racetracks are finding it impossible to meet those mandates, with purses becoming too small to fill racing cards."We considered paying off winners with Groupons," One Commissioner said, but we had to chuck that idea when we found out some of the bettors were trying to make bets with them."
On Wednesday alone, the commission approved a request to cancel seven racing days at Charles Town in November and December, and approved Mountaineer’s request to cancel racing in December because of a lack of purse funds. “We said, when you run out of money, you don’t have to run races,” Commission chairman Joe Rossi said of the latter decision."What do you think of our plan?" Rossi asked. "We figure if we keep letting tracks close because they're broke, in a year or two none of the tracks will have any races at all. Now is that revitalizing, or what?
We like it. What about you Thad?
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