Economic impact study on Maryland Racing Commission agenda

By: Tom LaMarra

Posted: Dec. 15, 2016

The Maryland Racing Commission at its Dec. 20 meeting is scheduled to discuss an economic impact study that shows meaningful growth in the Maryland horse industry since the advent of gaming in the state.

Sage Policy Group conducted the survey, the results of which were unveiled Nov. 21 during a press conference at Goucher College in Baltimore. The Maryland Horse Breeders Association is relocating its offices to the college as part of an effort to expand its equine-based curriculum.

The full report from Sage Policy Group is now available here.

The results of the report, titled “Maryland’s Horse Industry Turns a Corner,” suggest the horse industry’s economic impact in Maryland in 2015 was about $1.15 billion, with a projection it will increase to $1.5 billion by 2020. Sage Policy Group noted the results don’t incorporate activity at Maryland’s racetracks—the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course alone supported more than $31 million in economic activity, according to the study—or contributions made by equine operations in the form of preservation of open space.

The report notes growth in the Thoroughbred and Standardbred breeding sectors in the state as a result of the industry’s legislated 7% share of revenue from casino-based video lottery terminals. The amount that goes to purses and breed development drops to 6% with the opening of MGM National Harbor Casino just south of Washington, D.C., but officials believe the overall pool of money will increase given projected business at the new casino.

From January through November of this year, the VLT purse dedication fund had generated $45.9 million for purses and breed development; 80% goes to the Thoroughbred industry and 20% to the Standardbred industry. Another $6.4 million (1% of total VLT revenue) went to the Race Tracks Facility Renewal Account. The numbers are reported monthly by the Maryland Lottery.

(Laurel Park photo by Tom LaMarra)