Texas racing shut down

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TwinSpires Staff

September 1st, 2015

With lawmakers failing to fund the Texas Racing Commission, racetracks in the state are effectively shut down for the time being.

The new fiscal year in Texas began Tuesday, September 1.

As a result of the lack of funding, the Texas Racing Commission was forced to immediately stop operations and all live pari-mutuel racing and simulcasting in Texas, at least temporarily, is ceased.

Officials at Sam Houston released the following statement on Monday evening:

Earlier this evening, Sam Houston Race Park received notice from the Texas Racing Commission that it was ceasing operations. The letter from the Commission went on to rescind Sam Houston Race Park’s ability to import simulcast wagering, live racing and exporting of live signals at midnight, August 31, 2015.

“After an entire summer with the cloud of a shutdown hanging over the industry’s head, I am bewildered that certain members of the Texas Senate appear to have blocked the release of essential funds to the Texas Racing Commission,” Sam Houston Race Park President Andrea B. Young said. 

“We thank our friends in the Legislature and other branches of government who have fought to protect the Texas racing industry and the hard-working individuals it employs. The legislature did not intend this result, which will now shutter Texas racing facilities, putting thousands of jobs at risk. 

“We believe that this result is irresponsible. We urge the Lieutenant Governor to stand up for 36,000 jobs now before this goes any further. In the meantime, we will continue to examine our legal options. We plan to continue our fight for all the hardworking Texans that make up the Texas Horse industry.”

Scott Wells, President and General Manager of Lone Star Park, commented as well on the developments Tuesday: 

“As a result of the Texas Racing Commission not receiving the required authorization from the Legislative Budget Board to expend administrative funds past August 31, 2015, the Commission must cease all operations, including the oversight of both live racing and simulcast wagering. Lone Star Park's racing and simulcast operations will be closed until further notice.  

“All previously scheduled banquet events will continue as planned. In addition, the Bar & Book and the Lone Star Park training facility will remain open. We hope this matter will be resolved quickly so we can resume hiring the 600-plus additional personnel needed for our fall season which is scheduled to begin on September 18.”