By Frank Angst
In a move that Wyoming Downs said will force layoffs and threaten its live race meet, the Wyoming Pari-Mutuel Commission has shut down all historic horse race terminals in the state.
The Wyoming Pari-Mutuel Commission decision effectively shuts down the state’s Historic Horse Race industry. Wyoming Downs said the decision will terminate the flow of millions of tax dollars to state and local authorities and end the industry that had been the life blood of Wyoming’s live horse racing.
The track said employee layoffs will follow and the live racing season is threatened. This year the track offered Thoroughbred racing from June 20-Aug. 9.
The shutdown of the games, which look like slot machines but base payouts on a pari-mutuel formula, follows legislative actions and court decisions in Texas that have brought to a halt that state’s plans for adding the games. In August Texas legislators cut funding to the Texas Racing Commission after it voted not to repeal rules promulgating historical race wagering.
Wyoming Downs said the basis for the shutdown in that state was a claim by the regulator that the historic horse race terminals contained a component of luck or randomness in contradiction of state law. The track noted that before the terminals were put into use, the same commission determined that the historic race terminals operated in a manner consistent with state law.
The track said it asked the regulator to allow the machines to remain open while the manufacturer of the terminals made adjustments, but the commission ordered the shutdown. The track noted that historic race wagering remains legal in the state.