Friday, December 30, 2011

Montana Loses Big at the Track, Shuts Down All OTB

Posted By on Fri, Dec 30, 2011 at 10:11 AM

Only one year after the State of Montana took over all simulcast racing operations, thinking it could do a better job than the private sector, government officials said they're swimming in red ink and have shut down off-track betting sites indefinitely beginning next week.

As reported in today's Missoulian, Montana's state racing board took over all simulcasting in November 2010, following two decades of private operations. But today, the state board is more than $560,000 in the hole, after "overspending on live racing in anticipation of simulcast generating enough revenue to cover it."

But according to state officials, simulcasting has not been profitable since the day the government began operating it. According to the Missoulian, state officials now recognize they don't have the expertise to oversee the simulcast operations.

On June 1, simulcast racing operations returned to the Treasure Valley for the first time in two years. Treasure Valley Racing opened its off-track betting parlor at Les Bois Park in Garden City, in anticipation of a live racing season at the track. The live racing season, though abbreviated, was deemed a success and a 2012 racing card has already been announced, with 36 days of thoroughbred racing, beginning Wednesday, May 2, 2012.

Additionally, Treasure Valley Racing became 100 percent local in November, when Idaho investors bought out their Alabama-based partners to take over TVR.

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