West Virginia horse racing’s “10-10-10 program," which offers purse supplements to in-state Thoroughbred owners, as well as breeders and stallion owners, would return under legislation that passed the Senate and House of Delegates and has been given to Democratic Gov. Joe Manchin for consideration.
The measure passed the Senate March 2 and the House March 11.
The West Virginia Racing Commission Special Account, part of state statute, oversees the “10-10-10 program." Payments, however, haven’t been made since 2007.
Democratic Sen. Herb Snyder, whose district includes Charles Town Races & Slots, has said the bill would make good on $4.7 million horsemen should have received the past three years. The money would come from excess video lottery terminal revenue; Charles Town and Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort have VLTs.
Martin Blaylock, a member of the West Virginia Thoroughbred Breeders Association, said March 19 the legislation is of “tremendous importance” to breeders in the state and a means to spur economic development.
“This will allow people to pay bills, and what we tried to get (legislators) to understand in (the state capital of) Charleston is that every dollar spent goes to the feed man, exercise riders, et cetera. Look how many times the state will be collecting taxes off of that money.”
The "10-10-10 program" has become more important as Charles Town racing has grown, and more money is going to out-of-state interests. “From the big guy down to the little guy, this is important,” Blaylock said.
The program was designed to offer incentives for breed development and help preserve farmland. Under the program, the owner of the winner of any race in West Virginia, provided he or she is a “bona fide” resident of the state, gets 10% of the purse; the breeder, provided the mare foaled in West Virginia, gets 10%; and the stallion owner, provided the mare was serviced by said stallion, gets 10% of the purse of any race in the state.
The bill would restore the payments beginning July 1, 2010 and ending June 30, 2011.
The measure also includes a provision that table games revenue going to purses be paid “pro rata” among Charles Town and Mountaineer. Under current law, the revenue is pooled and each track gets 2.5% for purses.
It’s widely believed that when Charles Town begins table gaming last this year, it will produce more revenue than Mountaineer, located at the other end of the state near the Ohio and Pennsylvania borders.