Study: Economic Impact of Virginia Racing Industry Over $542 Million

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Colonial Downs | Horsephotos

The horse racing and breeding industry in Virginia generated an estimated economic impact of $542.1 million in the state in 2019, according to a study commissioned by the Virginia Equine Alliance.

“What we're finding is that jobs are coming back, horse racing related expenditures are up, and tax revenue to the state is increasing,” said John Hannum, Executive Director of the Virginia Equine Alliance. “These are all very positive signs that the racing industry is moving in the right direction and benefiting the Commonwealth's agribusiness and related businesses. Racing was at a low point in 2014 after the closure of Colonial Downs' racetrack. The General Assembly took a number of steps, most notably the passage of Historical Horse Racing machines in 2018, that provided the revenue to re-open the track and fund the revitalization of the industry. The study points to the enormous strides the industry has made since 2014.”

Highlights from the study released by the alliance Monday included: annual horse-related expenditures by Virginia horsemen estimated at $239.44 million in 2019; overall total in state tax revenue for 2019 estimated at $26.5 million; estimated total economic impact of horse racing events and visitor spending in Virginia was $68.7 million in 2019; jobs supported in 2019 by the horse racing and breeding industry estimated at more than 5,000; the average amount spent by horsemen in Virginia to care for, train, and board a race horse is estimated at $14,663.

Chmura Economics and Analytics (Chmura), a research consulting firm in Richmond, VA, conducted the study.

The Virginia Equine Alliance is a a non-profit, 501(c)6 organization comprised of the Virginia Harness Horse Association, Virginia Horsemen's Benevolent & Protective Association, Virginia Gold Cup Association and Virginia Thoroughbred Association. Its primary mission is to sustain, promote and expand the horse breeding and horse racing industry in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

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