PA Thoroughbred tracks request 464 dates for 2017

Posted: Dec. 19, 2016

The Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission is poised to approve 464 Thoroughbred racing programs for the state in 2017 when it meets Dec. 21.

Overall, six tracks—three Thoroughbred and three Standardbred—have requested a total of 943 racing programs for next year.

Parx Racing, as reported earlier, requested 170 racing dates, up 17 from this year. Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course has asked for 194 dates, down from 198 in 2016, while Presque Isle Downs & Casino is seeking its standard 100-day meet.

The state’s tracks share in the Pennsylvania Race Horse Development Fund, which is fueled by a percentage of revenue from casino-based slot machines.

Revenue from slots generated $100.3 million for the PRHDF through the first five months of fiscal 2016-17, according to Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board statistics.

The fiscal year runs from July through June. For the full 12 months of fiscal 2015-16, slots revenue produced $249 million for the PRHDF.

Under the 2004 gaming law in Pennsylvania, racetrack casinos and non-track casinos contribute a percentage of slots revenue to the PRHDF. The money is used for purses, breed development programs, and horsemen’s health and pension benefits.

The PGCB reported that slots revenue at 12 casinos in the state was down 4.3% in November versus the same month in 2015. All but one casino—Sugar House in Philadelphia—experienced a decrease, though slots revenue at Parx Casino was down less than 1%, according to the statistics.

The amount of revenue generated from slots for the PRHDF at Parx alone through the first five months of the fiscal year was $16.49 million, up 0.43% from the same period in 2015.

According to the PHRC annual report, Parx in 2015 paid $59.9 million in purses, which includes slots revenue and pari-mutuel revenue.

As for 2017 racing dates on the harness side, The Meadows Racetrack & Casino requested 195 programs, followed by Harrah’s Philadelphia at 150 and Mohegan Sun Pocono at 134.

(Penn National photo by Tom LaMarra)