“Political fight threatens to shutter Texas racetracks”
A political fight involving a new form of gambling at Texas racetracks, pitting conservative lawmakers against the Texas Racing Commission, threatens to shut down a multibillion-dollar industry.
With legislative leaders yet to approve a budget allocation for the commission to operate in the new fiscal year, starting Sept. 1, the commission’s executive director is warning that the agency would no longer be able to oversee the state’s seven tracks.
The tussle dates back to a commission decision last year to allow tracks in Texas to take part in a new form of betting called historical racing in which bettors electronically wager on already-run races that have been stripped of all identifying markers.
The complaint comes three days after Texas Racing Commission Executive Director Chuck Trout said in a letter to Phillip Oldham, a lawyer for Sam Houston Race Park, that live and simulcast horse and dog racing in Texas could end after Aug. 31 since the regulator might be forced to shut down after being cut off from its cash flow.