End Horse Racing Subsidies in Face of COVID-19 Cuts, Demands Coalition

Hundreds of Millions in Casino Profits That Now Prop Up Racing Industry Should Go to Human Services

For Immediate Release:
May 28, 2020

David Perle 202-483-7382

Albany, N.Y.

A coalition of education, human services, and animal protection organizations, collectively representing tens of millions of New York residents, is calling on Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state legislators to eliminate the enormous casino subsidies given to the horse racing industry and redirect the funds to critical human services that are facing deep cuts as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a letter sent this morning, the Alliance for Quality Education, the Human Services Council, LiveOn NY, the New York State Humane Association, PETA, and former New York City First Deputy Comptroller Steven Newman state, “Horse racing is a sanctioned gambling business in New York. But unlike the casinos and lotteries that return billions to the state, racing drains hundreds of millions a year in earmarked subsidies.” This amounted to more than $2 billion in handouts over the past decade.

The letter continues, “Hundreds of thousands of other private businesses in New York receive no public bailout yet create millions of jobs and generate hundreds of billions in economic impact …. An industry with $2.5 billion in annual wagering handle can and should support itself.”

Gov. Cuomo has warned that schools, hospitals, and localities should be prepared to lose 20% of their funding as a result of the pandemic. While this severely impacts the delivery of direct government services, it will have an even greater impact on nonprofits who are struggling to pick up the slack in areas such as job loss, food insecurity, healthcare, education, and housing. The governor has made it clear that funding should go to people with the greatest need and that billions of dollars in corporate subsidies and bailouts must end.

“Billions in future funds currently destined for horse racing should instead, starting right now, be directed to the many education, healthcare, and human service organizations that can efficiently serve the needs of all New York residents,” concludes the letter.

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