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Florida Horsepeople Reiterate Stance

Published: February 4, 2016 1:06 pm ET

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In the wake of news today that the Florida House Regulatory Affairs Committee would be drafting a bill for ‘partial decoupling,’ Florida's racehorse owners, trainers and breeders vehemently restated their opposition to decoupling in any form.

United Florida Horsemen, which includes a slate of national industry organizations, the Florida Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association's Thoroughbred owners and trainers, along with the Florida Quarter Horse Racing Association – the Florida chapter of the American Quarter Horse Association – and the Florida Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association, emphatically reminded Florida legislators and others that decoupling will deal a permanent crippling blow to Florida's lucrative horse racing and cornerstone breeding industry.

Horsemen view partial decoupling as simply a stepping-stone that would shoehorn a full-fledged statewide expansion of gambling at the expense of thousands of small businesses and their employees who make up Florida's horse racing market.

In Marion County alone, the horse industry's annual economic impact has been measured at $2.62 billion and nearly 20,000 jobs – completely dwarfing any Seminole Compact estimates.

Totally opposed by horsemen, the partial decoupling plan now exposed with today's news would seek to create an artificial 'set aside' market and eliminate Florida's ability to compete for horse racing business with other states by setting up contrived "purse pools" and restricting racing days to completely wipe out any semblance of free enterprise in the sport as it currently exists.

Horsemen emphasized that partial decoupling is being peddled solely by casino-only interests, the goal of which is to channel money directly into casinos' corporate bottom lines that would have normally been circulated into Florida's economy through normal, healthy horse racing business.

(United Florida Horsemen)

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