Report: Horse racing adds $182 million to Delaware economy

 Horses cross the finish line at Delaware Park in Stanton, Del. (AP Photo/Rob Carr)

Horses cross the finish line at Delaware Park in Stanton, Del. (AP Photo/Rob Carr)

As horse racing’s biggest weekend of the year approaches, a new report shows the industry’s three Delaware tracks contribute more than $182 million to the state economy.

Thousands will descend on Churchill Downs and millions more will be watching the Kentucky Derby from home on Saturday. Here in Delaware, the horse racing industry supports the equivalent of 1,500 full time jobs, according to a University of Delaware report commissioned by the Delaware Dept. of Agriculture through legislation passed in 2014.

“This data represents a comprehensive tally of the impact of horse racing in Delaware,” said William Latham, UD associate professor and coauthor of the study. “Direct spending has significant ripples, with each $100 of spending resulting in $182 of total economic impact.”

The study found that horse racing at Stanton’s Delaware Park, Dover Downs  and Harrington Raceway & Casino generates about $50 million in wages and salaries and contributes nearly $17 million in taxes. It’s estimated that horsemen spend about $57 million on goods and services, while tracks and spectators spend $6.9 million.

Delaware Secretary of Agriculture Ed Kee said horse racing represents an important part of the state’s agriculture. “These numbers show just how important, demonstrating the endurance and strength of this industry,” Kee said. “Racing supports stables, supply stores, veterinarians and our family farms.”

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