Minnesota Horse Racing Receives Boost with Approval of Advance Deposit Wagering

Canterbury Park (Photo by Coady Photography)
Canterbury Park (Photo by Coady Photography)

The Minnesota horse racing industry received a significant boost from the State Legislature and Governor this session when legislation was passed and signed into law authorizing the licensing and oversight of advance deposit wagering providers in the state. Advance deposit wagering, also known as “ADW” or “account wagering,” is a widely used form of wagering on horse races in which bettors place funds on account with ADW providers against which wagers are debited and winnings are credited. Wagers may be placed by phone or on-line by home computer, mobile device or tablet. Under the new law, an estimated $1.5 million annually will be recaptured from newly licensed ADW providers and re-directed to increased purses at Canterbury Park and Running Aces Casino and Racetrack and increased financial awards for breeders.

“The new law will provide fresh economic stimulus to the state’s racing and breeding industry, which, in turn, will encourage further expansion of this significant industry in the State of Minnesota. The new law will provide incentives for additional jobs and millions of dollars of direct and indirect economic impact. This is an economic development initiative that will help ensure the long-term health of the Minnesota racing industry,” stated Minnesota Racing Commission (MRC) Chair Ralph Strangis.

“Every additional Thoroughbred, Quarter Horse, or Standardbred that is bred, foaled, raised, raced and retired in Minnesota has an impact on Minnesota’s agricultural economy. Every stallion, mare and foal needs feed, bedding, veterinary care, farriers, barns, fencing, tack, farm equipment, trucks, trailers and people to provide care for these equine athletes. New revenues from ADW will go right back into Minnesota’s agricultural economy,” commented Jay Dailey, President of the Minnesota Thoroughbred Association.

Horse racing in Minnesota has been on a significant upswing in recent years with record purses at both tracks, a recent takeout reduction at Canterbury Park, record breeder’s awards paid out in 2015, and increasing foal counts.

The legislative initiative to license ADW providers and add regulatory oversight was spearheaded by the Minnesota Racing Commission and enjoyed widespread industry and bipartisan legislative support. The bill’s authors included legislative committee chairs for Senate Jobs, Agriculture and Rural Development (Sen. Dan Sparks); Senate Commerce (Sen. James Metzen); and House Commerce and Regulatory Reform (Rep. Joe Hoppe).

MRC Executive Director Tom DiPasquale, speaking on behalf of the Commission, expressed his appreciation to the tracks, race horse owners and breeders, legislative leaders and the Governor for their support. DiPasquale added that “the bill provides a secure and dedicated funding source from within the industry itself, and without expanding gambling, to ensure regulatory oversight and to capture new revenue for the state’s racing and breeding industry.”

ADW wagering has been available to Minnesota residents through multiple providers for many years, but these providers had not been regulated by the state and none of the revenues they generated from Minnesota residents were returned to Minnesota’s horse racing industry. Starting in November, Minnesota horseplayers who use on-line accounts to place wagers on live racing from all across North America and the rest of the world will have added consumer protections and will be supporting their own state’s racing industry.

In addition, the new law will redirect revenue generated from fines levied by the Minnesota Racing Commission to fund the repurposing and retirement of horses at the end of their racing careers.