According to press reports, the final votes for casino gambling in Massachusetts are due to occur this morning. Unlike Illinois where the Governor had threatened to veto the legislation, the worst this bill may face from Governor Patrick may be a line item veto. The reason for that, all through the discussions of the casino gambling bill, 20% of the funds were to go to horse racing; all of a sudden that number went to 25%, so it is possible the Governor may reduce horse racing's share back to 20%.
The irony of this bill is it may save Plainridge Racecourse and Suffolk Downs, or it may result in the closure of one of thee tracks. The bill calls for three full resort style casinos and one slot parlor in the state. Depending on where the three casinos are placed, we may find Suffolk Downs and Plainridge Racecourse both fighting for the slot parlor. One may assume the winner will survive but what happens to loser? It appears the horsemen would win regardless of where a slot parlor would be put, but if the track does not get to capture the income of running a slot parlor or casino, what incentive does the the track have to remain open?
This is the bill racing has been waiting for. Let's hope it is not the bill standardbred racing turns out to regret.
CNBC had a special feature on alternative investing and one of the topics is horse racing. That's the good news. The bad news is harness racing is not even mentioned in the piece and there lies the problem. Is harness racing so out of the mainstream that it can't get mentioned in an article on alternative investing where right now standardbreds probably have a better chance to make money right now than a thoroughbred on an individual basis? Obviously, standardbred racing is not getting the word out effectively; preaching to the choir does no good. We need to preach to those not on the choir.