The following is a letter that was e-mailed to Virginia’s Horse Racing Community from Debbie Easter & Jeb Hannum of the Virginia Equine Alliance.
Call to Action:
Write the Virginia Racing Commission Today!
As you well know, thanks to bipartisan leadership in the General Assembly this past session – as well as the signature and strong support of Governor Ralph Northam – the Virginia horse industry is on the verge of a potentially historic comeback. With the introduction of historical horse racing to the Commonwealth, we could finally have the stable and serious revenue source we’ve long needed to get quality horse racing back to a reopened and revitalized Colonial Downs, which would provide long sought-after support for organizations involved in every aspect of our horse industry.
But we aren’t there yet. And that’s why we’re writing you today.
The passage of HB 1609 was really just the first step in the process of revitalizing the industry. The second and most important step is the regulatory process. The Virginia Racing Commission will be putting in place the regulations that will govern historical horse racing machines here, and their decisions will ultimately determine if we have real horse racing again, or, as we talked about during this past session, Virginia remains an “also ran.”
The Commission has moved swiftly to produce initial draft regulations, and we were all incredibly pleased to see that. But the reality is that the regulations as currently drafted will not get our industry the financial support we need to truly succeed over the long term. That’s where you come in.
The Virginia Racing Commission is taking written comments on their regulations from now through July 31st. We need every organization in the Commonwealth that is connected to the horse industry to make their voice heard and help the Commission understand that we need regulations that allow horse racing and the industry to grow in Virginia in the years ahead, and make us competitive again with Maryland, West Virginia, Delaware, Kentucky and other states.
* We need you to write the Racing Commission by JULY 31st *
Our message is simple:
The General Assembly and the Governor moved in strong bipartisan fashion
to support Virginia’s horse industry with the passage of HB 1609. Now, we need regulations that will allow the horse industry to grow and succeed and that will make the goals of HB 1609 a reality.
As currently written, the proposed regulations will allow 3,000 Historic Horse Racing machines
throughout the state. That number is not sufficient to grow and sustain the native horse industry for the long term.
We should have regulations that give the Virginia Racing Commission the discretion to allow for future growth to take place, based on independent market studies.
A phase one of 3,000 machines is a good start, but let’s not handicap the entire industry by restricting the Commission’s ability to grow the number of machines. Such limitations would effectively leave us with the same dilemma: not enough funds to grow our industry.
If you prefer to send your comments via traditional mail, you may send your letter to the following address:
Virginia Racing Commission
5707 Huntsman Road, Suite 201-B
Richmond, VA 23250
Please ask the Virginia Racing Commission to work with the horse industry to put in place regulations that truly allow horse racing and the industry to succeed in the Commonwealth, today and moving forward. We know Virginia can be a national leader in horse racing. Your support, especially over this critical period between now and July 31st, is crucial to making that happen!