(Tom LaMarra/Blood-Horse) Racing stakeholders and government officials Feb. 4 publicly stated their opposition to legislation that would shift 15% of video lottery and table games revenue to fund other programs in West Virginia.

The bill was heard before the House Finance Committee. It is also making its way through Senate committees.

The measure calls for a 15% reduction in the amount of table games revenue that goes to purses and breed development programs for Thoroughbred and Greyhound racing. That provision was opposed by owners, breeders, trainers, and even the Jockeys’ Guild.

Horse and dog racing already have lost tens of millions of dollars in video lottery terminal revenue because several years ago a percentage was taken to fund workers’ compensation in the state. The provision was supposed to sunset but never did.

In addition, employee pension plans at all four racetracks in West Virginia would see their contribution from VLT revenue drop from 4% to 3.4%, according to a summary of the legislation.

Local and county government officials noted other areas impacted by the legislation, including a reduction in the West Virginia Infrastructure Fund from $40 million to $20 million per fiscal year. They noted it includes money for water supply upgrades and comes not long after a major chemical spill pulluted two rivers in the Charleston area.

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