- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 17, 2014

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - The state Racing Commission could request legislation to drop the number of days racetracks need to hold live races under law.

The Charleston Gazette (bit.ly/1BMnL0w) reports that on Tuesday, the commission discussed reducing the required number of racing days to 185 at the state’s four racetracks.

Tracks face a 10 percent cut in state subsidies this budget year. Money from wagering is also on the decline. Racing Commissioner Bill Phillips said it’s clear that racing purses have dropped too much to maintain a full racing calendar.

The racetrack at Hollywood Casino in Charles Town and the state’s two greyhound tracks are required to have 220 racing days. Mountaineer Racetrack in Chester is required to have 210.

A vote on a resolution will likely come at the commission’s Oct. 14 meeting.

The commission voted last month to drop the number of races at Mountaineer from nine or 10 daily to eight.

Mountaineer director of racing Rose Mary Williams said the change has reduced wagering from simulcast locations by 30 percent. Its races are simulcast to more than 850 other racetracks and off-track betting locations.

On Tuesday, Williams said the track’s weekly total amount of racing wagers is down about $2.3 million compared to the same point in 2013.

Williams said that even with fewer racing days, the track will run out of purse funds at the end of November.

Earlier in Tuesday’s meeting, the commission gave Hollywood Racetrack officials the go-ahead to cancel 20 race days that had been postponed earlier this year because of bad weather.

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Information from: The Charleston Gazette, https://www.wvgazette.com

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