Colorado horse, dog tracks await legislation outcome

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A bill under consideration by legislators offers some reprieve for the state’s lagging horse and dog racing tracks.

The Colorado Senate has advanced Senate Bill 174, designed to allow racetracks and off-track-betting parlors to accept wagers all year long on out-of-state greyhound races without the requirement of holding simultaneous in-state dog races.

The bill also would lift the 250-day cap on simulcasts, lower the state tax on all wagers from greyhound simulcasts from 4.5 percent to 0.7 percent and would require at least 30 days of live horse racing yearly for a horse track to accept bets on out-of-state dog and horse races year-round.

The Denver Post has reported that greyhound and horse racing operations have seen declining revenues since 2003, dropping from $207 million to $127 million for 2007, the last year with a full schedule of live dog racing at the state’s three greyhound tracks.

In Colorado, the only Arapahoe Park horse racing track in Aurora and the Mile-High Greyhound Park in Commerce City are still operating.

In Colorado Springs, the 17-acre Post Time Greyhound Park on North Nevada Avenue was open one day a week for off-track-betting but has been closed since last summer.

Rhode Island-headquartered BLB Investors purchased the Colorado Springs facility from Wembley USA during 2005 along with the Arapahoe Park horse track and dog tracks in Pueblo, Loveland, and the Denver area.

The bill is expected to go to a vote in the House by the end of the month.