The thoroughbred racing industry has by no means gotten an awful lot of traction in Georgia because of the anti-gambling faction or, in other words, the ever-present church foyer. Never mind that Georgia brought the lottery in 1993; horse racing is seen as greater sinful than a scratch-off game. So a country with excellent weather for a race song has been, how do you are saying, stalled.
The political weather, however, may be changing in the Bible Belt.
“The Bible thumpers are a touch difficult on this. However, they’re ageing, and their youngsters aren’t thumping pretty so heavily,” stated Dr. Susan Harding, a wellknown practitioner in south Georgia who owns 21 thoroughbreds. “Yes, this country needs horse racing.”
Brandon Beach (R-Alpharetta) is sponsoring a pari-mutuel bill that has made it out of the Economic Development and Tourism Committee to the Rules Committee. “That has in no way occurred before,” Beach stated.
All he needed to do was to say the magic word.
The law Beach is sponsoring is known as the “Rural Georgia Jobs and Growth Act.” It is a veteran flow by way of a veteran pol because while the electorate sees it on the ballot as a constitutional amendment, they will think jobs, not horses.
“I’m seeking to create an equine enterprise here,” Beach said. “I think we have the best weather for a -month (racing) schedule. It’s too hot in Florida and too bloodless in Kentucky and New York. Horse racing is a great factor. However, I’m looking to develop horse farms, hay farms, and breeding and auctions.
“The real cash is in the breeding and auctions. However, you can’t have the breeding without the horse racing element. We want to build a Keeneland-kind world-class facility that we ought to get a Breeders Cup. For every horse inside the country of Georgia, they inform me it’s 20 jobs.”
Harding has educated horses, and she or he said she sends them to tracks in the Midwest and Northeast. While she keeps her clinical practice with an eighty-hour workweek, she can’t accompany the horses. She stated trainers lollygag together with her horses and do now not get them in enough races.
“They visit distant tracks, and also you in no way get to see them,” Harding stated. “The trainer sits on them for six weeks, and they go directly downhill. Knock them out of the gates, get them a gate card, and race. When I ship a horse to the tune, they may be equipped to race.”
The pari-mutuel invoice—once more, the “Rural Georgia Jobs and Growth Act”—is hooked up to a constitutional modification to be voted on in November.
Casinos must be part of the equation because preserving a thoroughbred tune is highly priced. Gov. Brian Kemp has seemingly dropped his opposition to a bill sponsoring casinos in Georgia.
If the regulation for horse racing and casinos is accepted, the country must make sure the horsemen are cut into the casino’s haul of cash. The kingdom of Georgia will call for at least 25% of gross sales for taxes from the casinos, and the legislature needs to use a number of the budget of the one to the preservation of a track.
“It’s now not cheap running a song,” Dr. Harding stated. “You want to get all of the gambling in that you may, and that’s wherein the casino comes in.”
There is some other problem. It has grown to be common in Florida for a “tune” to open, but it is not anything greater than a starter preserving a pink rag, which is dropped earlier than nags jog 30 yards on a dust path. It’s a horse race that satisfies the national regulation that lets a online casino function 50 yards away. Georgia has to avoid that sham of “Racino.”