Indiana News

Senate to Consider Review of Horse Racing's Impact on State Economy

Pence budget proposes ending subsidies for breeders

1/31/2013

Horse racing in Indiana may undergo a review to assess whether it's worth the state's investment.

A portion of the slot machine revenue from the racetrack-casinos in Anderson and Shelby County goes to subsidize Indiana horse breeders. Governor Pence's budget proposes abolishing that subsidy and putting the money toward Medicaid.

Senate Appropriations Chairman Luke Kenley (R-Noblesville) calls the subsidy a commitment made to the horse breeders as part of the rationale for authorizing the racinos in the first place. But he says it's time the state had solid information on whether it's getting its money's worth from those efforts. He's authored a bill calling for an independent study of horse racing's economic impact in Indiana.

The Appropriations Committee unanimously supported the bill, sending it to the full Senate for a possible vote next week.

Horsemen's groups are endorsing the proposal, predicting a study will prove their value to the state. Indiana Standardbred Association president Jack Kieninger says it's easy to overlook some of the ways breeders boost the economy -- for instance, by buying hay and feed.

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