Is an empty stretch in Canterbury's future?
As of 1:00PM on June 30, the last day before a possible Minnesota state government shutdown closes horse racing in Minnesota, the legal wrangling is getting intense. This morning Canterbury Park along with the MN Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association filed a lawsuit in Scott County Minnesota District Court requesting that the State of Minnesota be ordered to continue funding the Minnesota Racing Commission without regard to the budget impasse. As outlined previously, the MRC is funded entirely from license fees and payments by the racetracks and receives no funding from the state’s general fund. Additionally, those payments are made in advance so payment for July services is already in the state coffers.
In a counter to this filing, the office of the Governor filed a motion to consolidate all petitions to stay open during any state shutdown into one. The Minnesota Supreme Court is meeting to consider that motion now. Should the motion be denied then the parties will be back in Scott County District Court for a hearing at 3:30 this afternoon.
Canterbury Park’s President and CEO, Randy Sampson, said in a press release, “We are doing everything possible to avoid suspending our gaming operations in the event of a government shutdown. If we are forced to suspend all horse racing, simulcasting and Card Casino operations the impact on the Company would be very severe. We would lose gaming and concession revenues in excess of $1 million per week even as we continue to incur substantial operating expenses, including expenses to support our backside horse population. Moreover, without any revenues coming in, we would be forced to lay off substantially all of our 1,000 full time and part time employees, causing hardship for them and their families.”