Wyoming Historical Racing

Historical racing suspended pending further review.

Press release

Wyoming Downs has been forced to shut down its historical racing operations at a number of locations.

On October 2, based on an Attorney General’s opinion, the Wyoming Pari-Mutuel Commission revoked its prior approval of Race Tech-supplied historic race machines and games. The Attorney General’s opinion indicated that the machines, although previously approved by the Commission and Attorney General, did not comply with Wyoming law. Unfortunately, in reliance on the original approval, Wyoming Downs acquired, at a cost of over $5 million, Historic Racing machines for use in Wyoming. 

As a result of the revoking of the prior approval, Wyoming Downs was forced to suspend operations in a number of locations. The suspension has led to the layoff of 45 employees. In addition the 2016 live race season is now in jeopardy. Revenue from the Historic Racing machines funded purses and the cost of the live race days. In 2015, Wyoming Downs ran 16 live race days. The purses and the revenue generated for the trainers, owners and breeders are a direct function of the use of the Historic Racing machines. Without a solution that allows the HR operators to reopen, the horse industry in the state will suffer greatly and the race industry will probably cease to exist in the state. The revenue that was going to local municipalities has also stopped. 

Wyoming Downs management and remaining employees are working feverishly on a solution that would save the live race days in 2016. 

In addition, Wyoming Downs manager Eric Nelson noted, the Commission is evaluating alternative Historic Racing machines in the hopes of finding a machine that operates in a manner that is consistent with the Attorney General’s opinion. Wyoming Downs is concerned that any additional Historic Racing machines be vetted through a process that includes securing an Attorney General opinion before millions are spent acquiring the new software and new machines. Wyoming Downs cannot afford to invest millions in reliance of Commission approval when that approval can be revoked at a later date based on an Attorney General opinion obtained after the acquisition. 

Wyoming Downs understands that other manufacturers currently in discussions with the Commission supply games that raise questions as they relate to the Association of Racing Commissioners International Inc.’s referenced model rules. 

Each of these questions and concerns should be fully vetted and addressed by the Attorney General and the Commission so that the operators and the players know that they are acting within the bounds of the law. Wyoming Downs cannot risk the purchase and the customers should not be exposed to a new version of the Historic Racing machine which is subject to a later determination that the machine did not operate within the law. 

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