George Carney is the owner of the Brockton Fairgrounds property, an area that could have been home to a resort casino with a price tag of $677 million. A bid to create a casino on the fairground property was rejected by gaming regulators in the state of Massachusetts and Carney now has his eyes on horseracing at the facility.
Despite the plan by Rush Street Gaming of Chicago to create the casino resort being shut down, Carney still wants to improve the track at the fairgrounds. The track has not seen a horse race in fifteen years. Speaking with the Associated Press yesterday, Carney stated that he never thought about losing, and always thought about winning, in regards to the state gambling license that the casino plan did not receive. However, these things happen so ‘plan b’ will be to bring back horse racing, at least for 2016.
State licenses have already been given to race organizers, with the option to run 30 race days on the Brockton Fairgrounds site in 2016. This approval was given based on the facility having time to schedule races until the project of the casino was completed. Now, the property plans on seeking close to $5 million from the horse racing fund of the state to help increase purses and make the races for the year attractive to breeders.
Gambling revenues from casinos in Massachusetts provide a percent that is collected towards the Race Horse Development Fund. This money is designated towards the racing industry. A State Gaming Commission report showed that the racing industry has over $11 million in the fund.
The races at Brockton are currently being organized by William Lagorio, the Massachusetts Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association President. According to Lagorio, the competitions are needed to be able to keep the industry afloat until a long term plan is created. To help the racing industry, other leaders have been working to see a new training center established for racing and equine training. This effort has been ongoing since the Suffolk Downs of Boston stopped offering a full racing season back in 2014.
The proposal for the Brockton Fairgrounds to host races is one of three seeking assistance from the horse racing fund of the state. Plainville’s Plainridge Park is planning on hosting 115 race days but organizers have not been able to determine how much subsidies in racing will be required.
Suffolk Downs will have six days of racing taking place in July, August and September. For Suffolk Downs, $2.6 million was be asked for from the fund, according to Chief Operating Officer for the track, Chip Tuttle. The majority of the money would go towards purses.