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BC-SD--Horse Racing-South Dakota,1st Ld-Writethru, SD

April 11, 2019
There will be no horse racing this year at South Dakota tracks for the first time in decades. Aberdeen American News reports that Northeast Area Horse Racing said Tuesday that the Aberdeen track won’t host races in 2019. The move comes two weeks after the state’s only other race track decided to suspend this year’s activities in Fort Pierre. The Aberdeen group’s president says his group can’t meet the state gaming commission’s new bond requirement meant as insurance to cover losses.

ABERDEEN, S.D. (AP) — There will be no horse racing this year at South Dakota tracks for the first time in decades.

Northeast Area Horse Racing said Tuesday that the Aberdeen track will not host races in 2019, Aberdeen American News reported. The announcement came two weeks after the state’s only other race track suspended activities this year in Fort Pierre.

Bubby Haar, the Aberdeen organization’s president, said the track is unable to host horse races this year because the group cannot meet the South Dakota Gaming Commission’s new bond requirement, which is intended as insurance to cover losses or unpaid vendors.

State legislators recently approved $120,000 over two years to help keep the horse racing industry afloat, but Haar expressed doubt that it would be enough to sustain both racing locations, even with lower operating costs compared to the past. He has explained that races used to cost more than $300,000 per location, per season.

The industry was dealt another blow last month when the state House rejected legislation that would have created a new revenue stream for horse racing by taxing out-of-state companies that take online wagers on horse racing from South Dakota residents.

“It is a sad day for all of us who care about the industry. ... We are hopeful and remain optimistic that in the future perhaps there will be some new form of funding or a type of private investor who would be willing to help the industry get going again,” Haar said.

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Information from: Aberdeen American News, http://www.aberdeennews.com