Statement of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission Regarding Recent Audit

“The Massachusetts Gaming Commission would like to extend its appreciation to Auditor Bump and the team at the office of the Massachusetts Auditor for their collegial and professional approach to the recent audit. We are gratified that the audit found no deficiencies in the MGC’s Voluntary and Involuntary Self Exclusion programs, which are vital to promoting safe and healthy gaming. In addition, we are pleased that the audit found that the MGC administered the Race Horse Development Fund (RHDF) in accordance with the recommendations of the Horse Racing Committee per Section 60 of Chapter 23K of the General Laws.

“With respect to the comments regarding the Commonwealth’s Race Horse Development Fund we wish to note that the audit period is July 1, 2018 through March 3, 2020, and as such, does not reflect our agency’s actions outside of that time period with respect to institutionalizing an approach to collaboration between the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, the Massachusetts Thoroughbred Breeders Association (MTBA) and the Commonwealth’s Department of Agriculture. For several years, the MTBA has appeared annually before the MGC at our public meetings to discuss the use of funds from the Racehorse Development Fund for purposes of racing out of state. In 2020 and 2021, the MGC institutionalized the practice of memorializing such consultation in letters to the MTBA outlining the MGC’s position relative to the MTBA’s proposed use of funds.

“As statutorily required, the monies collected in the Race Horse Development Fund are required to be allocated as follows: 80 percent for purses; 14 percent for breeders; 4 percent for health and welfare. Neither the Horse Racing Committee nor the MGC has discretion on this allocation of funding. However, in recent years, the Horse Racing Committee has recommended—and the MGC has ratified—adjustments to the split between thoroughbred racing and standardbred racing such to limit the accumulating balance in the fund. In the current fiscal year, the split is 92 percent standardbred and 8 percent thoroughbred.

“As the audit notes, there is currently not a venue in the Commonwealth for the racing of thoroughbred horses and there are existing statutory restrictions on the use of the 80 percent of the Racehorse Development Fund designated purse monies outside of the Commonwealth. The MGC has filed legislation in the past that is relevant to this issue and we understand that there are currently bills under consideration in the Legislature, including an omnibus package. We stand ready to work with the Legislature on this issue.”

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