N. Dakota House defeats 'historical horseracing' bill

Apr 6, 2017 9:48 AM

Lawmakers in the North Dakota House have narrowly defeated a bill to allow some locations within the state to offer “historical horseracing.”

Despite passage in the State Senate last month, the measure failed in the house by one vote. Historical horseracing, sometimes called instant racing, allows bettors to wager on "reruns" of races. Opposition to the law in North Dakota compared the concept to a slot machine calling the idea a phony excuse for expanded gambling. Supporters denied that the bill significantly opened up gambling in the state partially because the bill limited the number of sites that could conduct historical horseracing to 10.

Don Santer, the CEO of the North Dakota Association for the Disabled, a nonprofit that conducts charitable gaming, said in a public letter last month that the bill would be "devastating" to charitable gaming in the state.

"Obviously, this bill will benefit the horseracing industry," he said. "But that benefit will cost all the other gaming charities in North Dakota."

In recent years, revenue from historical racing machines in Kentucky has been credited with revitalizing the racing industry as purses at many state racetracks and especially at Kentucky Downs, an all turf facility in the south/central part of the state, have soared.