State racing subsidies: Are they worth it?

An editorial from The Exponent Telegram

CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — When the West Virginia Legislature convenes in 2015 under Republican leadership, many expect the state’s greyhound racing subsidies to be eliminated.

And on the surface, the move makes sense.

But there are some numbers floating about that could cause further consideration.

A West Virginia University study released in January showed that the racing industries (both horse and greyhound) remain a solid portion of the leisure/hospitality sector.

The study shows that the racing industries “contribute more than $321 million in total business volume to the state’s economy. To provide some context, this level of output constitutes about 12 percent of the leisure and hospitality sector statewide.”

The study further states that the industries “support more than 7,300 jobs … equivalent to about 10 percent in the state’s leisure and hospitality sector.”

The study also says the racing industries generate more than $100 million in employee compensation and $4.6 million in total state tax revenue.

But there is another fact that comes out of the study that explains why greyhound racing is the target: About 75 percent of the economic impact comes from thoroughbred racing…

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