Optimistic Canterbury Reports Stable Earnings

Canterbury Park in Minnesota remains hopeful for electronic gaming.

Though legislation to authorize electronic gaming continues to stall in Minnesota, Canterbury Park officials remain optimistic in the wake of a fairly stable second-quarter earnings report.

Canterbury Park Holding Corp., which owns the Shakopee, Minn., racetrack, reported a net loss of $380,969 for the second quarter of 2010 compared with a net loss of $173,099 for the second quarter of 2009. Revenue for the three months, however, was $11,453,879, up from $11,174,591 for the same period in 2009.

Company officials said a loss of $909,540 for the first six months was attributed to renovations to the Canterbury Park card room.

Canterbury reported a 17.2% increase in card room revenue for the second quarter of 2010, but a 10.9% decrease in pari-mutuel revenue for the same period.

Canterbury is located several miles from a full-scale tribal casino. It also competes with Running Aces, a harness track and card room located north of Minneapolis.

Canterbury president and chief executive officer Randy Sampson said response to the track’s “Card Casino,” an expanded version of which opened in April, has been positive.

“(The card room’s) exciting and inviting atmosphere enabled us to achieve increased revenues in the second quarter despite the fact that the prolonged economic downturn has continued to diminish discretionary spending on entertainment,” Sampson said in a statement. “In addition, direct competition from many sources, including unlawful Internet poker and simulcast wagering, continues to have an adverse effect on our revenues.”

Racetrack gaming has long been on the legislative docket in Minnesota. Earlier this year no final action was taken on the bill.

“We are disappointed that the Minnesota legislature did not act on the racino proposal in 2010,” Sampson said. “A racino would bring new jobs and generate significant revenues for the state of Minnesota. Also, public opinion surveys consistently show that Minnesotans overwhelmingly support the racino proposal.

“For these reasons, we intend to vigorously support racino legislation when the Minnesota legislature begins its next session in January 2011.”

Sampson said a rainy June dented pari-mutuel business, though attendance began to pick up in July. Canterbury, celebrating its 25th season, attracted more than 17,000 patrons for its “Extreme Day” racing program, and more than 10,000 for the "Claiming Crown."