The Massachusetts Gaming Commission has taken steps, pursuant to legislative mandates, that put it clearly on record behind a comprehensive strategy designed by the Legislature to support its longstanding public policy decision: that is, to strengthen horse racing in Massachusetts, because of its contribution to jobs, open space, and agriculture. As stewards of that legislative strategy, and in response to your June 11 editorial “Horse fund gets much-needed second look,” we believe it is appropriate to speak on this important issue.
The Expanded Gaming Act included two elements of a strategy to save horse racing in Massachusetts: to sunset the existing racing regulations and direct the Gaming Commission to propose new legislation for regulation of horse racing by January 2014, and to establish the Race Horse Development Fund for the principal purpose of augmenting horse race purses to attract more and better horses.
The commission has filed comprehensive reform legislation with the Legislature on three different occasions. Thus far, no reform legislation has been passed, depriving the industry of its best chance at success.
Subsequent events have demonstrated that the Race Horse Development Fund serves to strengthen racing.
Similarly, the commission believes that with a reorganized regulatory structure, empowering the Gaming Commission to strategically manage all the thoroughbred revenue streams, there is a legitimate chance of designing a sustainable strategy for thoroughbred racing in Massachusetts.
It would be unfortunate to divert significant portions of the Race Horse Development Fund, as you advocate in your editorial, before the full legislative strategy to sustain horse racing has been implemented and tested.