Horse Racing

Report: Commission Vote Revokes Arizona Downs Permit

In a special meeting of the Arizona Racing Commission, commissioners voted Dec. 19 to revoke the live racing permit for Arizona Downs, according to Paulick Report.

This action affirms a decision by an administrative law judge. The commission had tabled discussion at a regular meeting earlier this month.

The commission’s actions stemmed from financial difficulties at the Prescott Valley track. Arizona Downs did not race in 2023, but officials there had expressed a desire to race in 2024. Arizona Downs previously raced during the summer.

Besides Arizona Downs, other tracks in the state have experienced financial difficulties—among them Turf Paradise and Rillito Park. Arizona Downs and Turf Paradise have battled over control over off-track-betting locations in the state. Turf Paradise is scheduled to begin its meet next month after not initially planning to open.

The Arizona racing industry had hoped to pass legislation in recent years to authorize historical horse racing gaming but were unsuccessful. HHR gaming has been a boon for racetracks in Kentucky and Virginia.

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Attempts to sell or lease Arizona Downs have not been successful to date. According to Paulick Report, Arizona Downs co-owner David Auther said he had received interest from Watch and Wager to lease the track for a harness meet, but the commission did not act on the entity’s license applications.


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