01/14/2011 2:01PM

Proposed Indiana budget would reduce casino subsidies to horsemen


Subsidies provided by Indiana casinos to the state’s Thoroughbred horsemen through purses and breeders’ funds would drop 23 percent in 2012 under a proposed budget introduced by Gov. Mitch Daniels, according to a fiscal impact statement distributed by the state.

Subsidies for the Thoroughbred industry would drop from a projected $26.1 million in 2012 to $18.1 million if the horse racing cuts in the budget are approved, according to the statement. Subsidies to the Standardbred industry would be cut a similar amount, with the savings transferred to the state’s general fund.

The cuts are being considered at a time when the state is searching for ways to cut spending and raise funds to plug a budget deficit. Negotiations on the budget are expected to proceed at least through the spring.

“Everyone in the racing industry knew that there was certainly a possibility of a reduction in the horsemen’s share of slots revenue,” said Joe Gorajec, executive director of the Indiana Horse Racing Commission. “This is a very fiscally conservative state, and the economy being what it is and the state budget being what it is, there’s tightening going on wherever you look.”

Indiana’s two racetracks, Indiana Downs and Hoosier Downs, both operate casinos. The tracks held 123 live racing dates for Thoroughbreds in 2010.