West Virginia Legislative Measures ‘Pro-Racetrack and Anti-Horsemen’
Legislation in the West Virginia Senate would lower the minimum number of yearly race dates required of a track's application from 200 to 150. The bill would also reduce the power of the West Virginia Racing Commission to set minimums on the number of races per day, and will shift purse revenue from VLTs to other funds.
For the last eight years, 7 percent of purse revenue from VLTs has gone to the Workers' Compensation Debt Reduction Fund. From July 1, 2013 on, the first $6 million generated by VLTs will go toward the Community-Based Services Fund. Originally, the full percentage of VLT revenue was supposed to go back to purses and breed development.
Additionally, the legislation would limit the use of the money received by horsemen's groups from 2 percent of each purse. The money currently goes toward medical trusts for backstretch workers, but new regulations would restrict it for use in “legal actions, legal fees, lobbying expenses, reimbursement of board members of such associations, and other related expenses.”
“The language in the measure appears to be pro-racetrack and anti-horsemen,” noted Blood-Horse's Tom LaMarra.
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