Grants Pass Downs, Oregon’s Final Racetrack Cancels 2022 Meet

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Grants Pass Downs, Oregon’s Last Racetrack Cancels 2022 Meet

Posted on: April 13, 2022, 04:57h.&nbsp

Last updated on: April 13, 2022, 05:27h.

Grants Pass Downs, Oregon’s last surviving commercial thoroughbred racetrack, has canceled its race meet for 2022.

Grants Pass Downs
Racing at Grants Pass Downs has been canceled for 2022 following Oregon’s governor pressurized regulators to torpedo its application for HHR machines. (Picture: New York Instances)

The track cited a current selection by the state racing regulator to deny its application for 225 historical horse racing (HHR) machines at its new enjoyment center, the Flying Lark.

Dutch Bros Coffee magnate and regional boy Travis Boersma acquired Grants Pass Downs in 2019. He hoped to fund the upkeep of the track and finance race purses with revenue from the adjacent Flying Lark, envisaged as a dining, consuming, and gambling establishment.

But it wasn’t to be. The Oregon Racing Commission (ORC) reluctantly nixed the application in February, leaving itself with valuable tiny racing to regulate.

Gov. Brown Strain

HHR machines let gamblers bet on replays of past races with the identities of individuals races obscured. They have been legal at Oregon racetracks considering that 2012. That’s&nbspbecause they broadly use the pari-mutuel betting program.

But earlier this yr, the Oregon DOJ&nbspissued an opinion&nbspthat HHR machines had been more like slots and lottery games than the pari-mutuel horse race betting permitted at racetracks.

The company stated than no a lot more 75 HHRs need to be permitted at any 1 venue. Otherwise, it would violate the state ban on casinos. Currently, only Native American tribes are permitted to provide casino gaming in Oregon under the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.

In a letter dated February 16, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) advised the ORC board it would be much more than their jobs have been worth to vote against “any action inconsistent with the law, as interpreted&nbspby the Oregon Department of Justice.”

“As a result of the Oregon Racing Commission’s vote to deny an working license to The Flying Lark, Grants Pass Downs has lost its economic engine,” stated Travis Boersma in a statement this week.

“While we remained hopeful we would be ready to host a viable race meet, the uncertainty right here and across the industry has resulted in a drastic reduction of race horses at Grants Pass Downs,” he added. “At this level, it is clear operating the meet isn’t possible.”

Work Losses

This is a far cry from Boersma’s stated ambition of transforming his hometown into a national epicenter of racing. The cancellation of the 2022 calendar will lead to the reduction of about 50 jobs. He has previously said he will have to allow a lot more than 200 staff go at the Flying Lark.

Boersma blamed the “state and its leadership’s lack of comprehending of, and appreciation for, the equine business and the requirements of rural Oregon” for the track’s predicament. He has hinted that he may possibly pursue the matter through the courts.

Gov. Brown’s hand may possibly have been forced by a coalition of nearby tribes that demanded she rigorously examine Boersma’s strategies, arguing they would “fundamentally alter gambling in the state to the detriment of tribal casinos.”

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