U.S. States Exclude Horse Racing in Nonessential Businesses List

When the states of Arkansas, Florida, Nebraska and Oklahoma issued business closure mandates on nonessential businesses, horse racing was an exception. The tracks that remained open but without accepting spectators to watch the ongoing races included Oaklawn Park in Arkansas, Gulfstream Park and Tampa Bay Downs; Fonner Park in Nebraska; Remington Park and Will Rogers Downs in Oklahoma.



The governors of the aforementioned states allowed race meets that were scheduled in March onward to proceed, albeit subject to compliance with precautionary safety measures. Such measures include requiring all personnel, trainers, grooms and valets to wear face masks and to use gloves. Safe-distancing was observed by allowing only 10 people working in stalls, as stalls with horse occupants must have one empty stall in between.


In Will Rogers Downs in Oklahoma, jockeys from the states of California, Connecticut, Louisiana, New Jersey, New York and Washington were not allowed to participate, or even enter the OK state.


While horse racing as a sport among horse breeders is a stable source of income for governments, the legality of placing wagers on results of races is another factor that makes the business essential, if for the government’s revenue purposes. However, during the COVID-19 lockdown, betting on outcomes of horse races were not allowed at the tracks and at off-track betting sites, but only via online gambling platforms.


A Cursory Look at Horse Race Betting in the U.S.


In 2019, Statista reported that the estimated worth of horse racing tracks in the U.S. is $3.8 billion. The revenues gained by the state government from the horse racing industry is further augmented, by taxes withheld on winnings collected by horse race gamblers. The amount could be sizable since the wagers are amassed in a pool, which just like lotteries, tend to grow bigger if no one won the jackpot prize.


Actually, watching horse races while having wagers staked on one or more horses, increases the fun. Even more so for gamblers who seem to know all the right horses to bet on. They seem to have a formula for beating the odds, whilst using certain references as tools for determining probabilities largely based on race horse and race track data.



Past the Wire, the sponsor of this guest post, is a website that provides useful information and latest news about events that take place in race tracks both here and abroad. One example of its recommendation is through a blog post about Equibase, as the best online resource for horse racing data. https://pastthewire.com/blog-posts/equibase-com-a-website-for-horseracing-data-or/