Thoroughbred industry’s economic impact
At New York's racetracks and auction houses, millions of dollars are bet and spent on racehorses each year. As YNN's Matt Hunter explains, a new study is shedding some light on exactly how widespread the industry's economic impact is.
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ALBANY, N.Y. -- "The bad news sometimes overshadows the good news. On every newscast on TV, you don't see 25 minutes of good news," said Rick Violette, New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association Chairman.
There's no denying many of the recent headlines surrounding New York's thoroughbred industry have been anything but positive. But on Tuesday, the results of a new study painted a much brighter picture.
Commissioned by the New York Horse Racing and Agriculture Industry Alliance, the study revealed the equine industry's economic impact stretches to every corner of the state with more than 30,000 jobs tied to it.
"The study's figures are dramatic. As the senator mentioned, the equine industry has a $4.2 billion, with a ‘B,’ billion dollar affect on the state's GDP. It's big business," said Jeff Cannizzo, New York State Thoroughbred Breeders Association Executive Detector.
Violette said, "Horses are our job creators. For every 10 horses that comes into the state for racing, eight jobs, full-time jobs, come along with it."
Along with industry leaders, the study's results were presented at the State Capitol by Senator John Bonacic and Assemblyman Gary Pretlow, who chair the Senate and Assembly racing and wagering committees.
With the state's unemployment rate hovering above nine percent, both believe added investment in the industry and legalizing casino gambling are effective ways to add jobs.
"My message is simple,” Bonacic said. “We have to keep investing in the horse racing industry."
"It's causing farms to open, it's causing horses to change residence from places like Kentucky and Pennsylvania. They're now moving to New York and becoming New York horses," said Pretlow.
The study found the industry's economic impact grew by roughly 75 percent from the last time a survey was conducted in 2005. While that growth is largely tied to revenue from a new video lottery casino at Aqueduct, many like trainer Rick Viollette feel the significance of the broader industry's impact cannot be ignored.
Violette said, "We are a significant industry and I think sometimes we've gotten sidetracked to how important we are to New York State. We're certainly worth everybody's investment."