In Maryland, a new report has found that casinos in the eastern state have helped the local horseracing industry to increase its economic impact over the past five years by in excess of 20%.

According to a report from local television broadcaster WBAL-TV, the horseracing industry in Maryland began to go into decline in the 1990s due to the proliferation of casinos in neighboring states such as Pennsylvania but a new study by the Sage Policy Group has now found that the sport has experienced something of a miraculous turnaround.

“From the perspective of a few years ago, one would not have expected the numbers to turn out the way they did,” Anirban Basu, Chief Executive Officer for the Sage Policy Group, told WBAL-TV. “For many years, the horse industry in Maryland was in sharp decline.”

Basu explained that his firm’s research indicated that the economic impact of Maryland horseracing has increased from $930 million in 2010 to around $1.15 billion last year mainly due to the trickle-down effect of casinos, which have helped to increase purses and improve facilities around the state.

“We were one of only two states that grew in their breeding area,” Willie White, President for the Maryland Horse Breeders Association, told WBAL-TV. “[We grew by] 15% and Kentucky grew by 4% so we are moving horses to the state of Maryland.”

Mike Pons from the Merryland And Country Life Farm in Hydes near the city of Baltimore agreed with the analysis and told WBAL-TV that the industry has been significantly helped by the more than $40 million added to the state’s purse account.

“We’ve had a headwind for so long and now we have a tailwind and we’re having to sort of look around and say what are we [going to do] next,” Pons told the broadcaster. “What’s happening is you’re seeing that we had all of the infrastructure in place, we had the race tracks, the breeding farms, the veterinarians, the feed guys but, all we needed was some high-octane fuel.”

The Sage Policy Group study additionally predicted a bright future for the Maryland horseracing industry with its economic impact set to be worth around $1.5 billion by 2020 and supporting some 11,000 jobs.

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