The state’s racehorse owners and trainers represented by the Pennsylvania Equine Coalition said the Corbett administration’s plan to transfer $31 million from the Race Horse Development Fund to the General Fund comes at a bad time as gaming receipts statewide are down.
The development fund supplements prize money offered by race tracks.
“Revenues at the Category 1 casinos (ones that include horse racing) are down 14 percent compared to last year, which translates to a drop of $3.47 million,” said Pete Peterson, a spokesman for the group.
Peterson said competition from other states, particularly from Ohio and Maryland, is hurting the gaming business in Pennsylvania.
“They are doing to us what we did to Atlantic City,” he said.
The coalition said that if the current rate of decline of 6.1 percent holds steady, the fund will have actual revenues of approximately $261 million this fiscal year. In contrast, the Corbett administration’s budget projections for the current year, issued in February, projected the development fund would bring in revenues of $289.5 million in the 2012-13 fiscal year. The Corbett administration recently revised its budget projections downward to $278.5 million, but the racehorse owners said they expect even less money to come in.
A Corbett administration official said only that the transfer would be part of the upcoming budget negotiations. Lawmakers and Corbett face a June 30 deadline for budget approval.
— J.L.K. •