Dear Editor: Being from Park County, I paid very close attention to the pari-mutuel wagering bill proposed on the 2020 ballot that was supposed to save horse racing in Wyoming.
Dear Editor: Being from Park County, I paid very close attention to the pari-mutuel wagering bill proposed on the 2020 ballot that was supposed to save horse racing in Wyoming. Recently I have been seeing a considerable amount of news in Wyoming regarding Wyoming Downs opening up several of these new off-track betting sites (OTBs) in Casper, Gillette, Sweetwater County and Laramie over the last few months. We were told in Park County that OTBs were in place to promote live horse racing. I don’t see these guys holding nearly as many races as they are opening up these gaming facilities across the state.
Recently, I learned that both current OTB operators in Wyoming — who are not actually from Wyoming, but Illinois and Las Vegas (Wyoming Horse Racing, LLC and Wyoming Downs, LLC) — applied for the coronavirus bailouts this year. In fact, Wyoming Downs, LLC didn’t apply under “other gambling industries” category, but rather the “other spectator sports category.” According to the published information online, Wyoming Downs, LLC received a Loan amount between $350,000 and $1 million, while Wyoming Horse Racing, LLC received an amount between $150,000 and $350,000.
We were told in Park County that OTBs were necessary to generate revenue to fund live horse races and these generally were money losers paid by the OTB facilities. So, my question is, why are these individuals applying for PPP loans on horse races that lose money every year, but continuing to open OTB facilities across the state?
They didn’t even have to run the required number of races they were supposed to, so they ended up saving money on the horse racing. I guess the funds were open to OTB locations and not to help Wyoming horses as we were promised in Park County.
I just want to say thanks, Park County, for not letting this bill become a law in Cody.
Jericho Brown, Cody