J. Samuel Perlman, Daily Racing Form, 1954-06-23


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J. SAMUEL PERLMAN J. Samuel Perlman is Editor and PuhB Usher of DAILY RACING FORM and The Morning Telegraph. There are many problems that face thoroughbred racing in this country/ In my opinion, the most serious is that of excessive, taxation. Unfortunately, in many states the legislatures, instead of recognizing .that racing is a tine sport that has greater public acceptance than any other on the continent, treat it as a fat cow that should be,milked to death. What is even more unfortunate is the discrimination against racing. The most glaring example is, in New York State. Despite the fact that racing is yielding the State of New York more than 0,000,000 per year in revenue, the Legislature has seen fit to continue to pile discriminatory taxes on people whose only fault is that they prefer racing to other sports. This point is brought into focus by the following facts: A patron of a New York racetrack who purchases a clubhouse ad-, mission, ticket pays a total of .95. Of this amount the racetrack receives .30, while .65 is paid in state, city and Federal taxes. In contrast, a baseball fan who pays .30 for admission pays only 33 cents in taxes. Consequently, the racing patron is charged an additional .32 for no reason whatsoever except discrimination against the sport. What makes this situation even more incredible is that the racing patron, in addition to paying a penalty of .32 because he prefers racing, doles out an average of approximately 5.00 per day in taxes on his pari-mutuel wagering. Thoroughbred Sport Discriminated Against The discrimination against thoroughbred racing in New York goes even further. Despite the fact that flat racing in New York state has an exemplary record for integrity while harness racing has been under serious attack because of scandals which developed last fall, flat racing still receives a much smaller share of the mutuel take for reasons that are known only to the legislators. We are not suggesting that harness racing is allowed an excessive take. In fac.t, if flat racing were to be given equal status with harness racing, the return on an average handle of ,000,000 per day would be only 5.419 per cent., which is much lower than the national average. Under the existing New York state laws, i â–ºflat racing receives 4 per cent, of the mutuel take and 40 per cent, of the breaks, which amounts to 4.32 per cent. Harness racing operates under a sliding scale for the first 00,000, the tracks share of the take amounting vto approximately 8 per cent. On the mutuel handle above 00,000 harness tracks receive the same take as flat tracks except that they are allowed 50 per cent, of the breaks against 40 per cent, for flat racing. The net result is that on the first 00,-000 harness tracks receive 7,900 while flat tracks receive 5,920. Why flat racing should be penalized this 1,980 perday is impossible to explain, except the timidity of the New York Racing Associations in fighting for their rights. Other States Point to New York It would be the height of folly to assume that this is entirely a New York state problem. We have already seen evidence that other states are pointing to New York in an effort to reduce the share of the take received by racetracks under their jurisdiction. The facts are of course that because of the small percentage received by New York tracks they have made virtually no improvements in their plants for the past fifteen years. From the standpoint of comfort New York fans have been completely neglected. What are the main reasons for this gross discrimination against thoroughbred racing? I am firmly of the opinion that the failure of those in racing to be articulate [and militant in defense of their sport is the most important contributing factor. Too many in racing act as if they are doing something wrong and are afraid to upset the apple-cart. The fact that there is wagering at racetracks is one of the chief reasons for this timidity. The tracks seem to lose sight of the fact that it is the state and Federal governments who derive some 90 per cent, of the revenue from this wagering, which has complete public acceptance. The tax problem in relation to racing in New York state is the problem of every racetrack in the United States. Unless the situation in New York is remedied, every racetrack in the United States will face the same problem. Every racing commission and every racing organization in this country must play its part in combating discrimination against the sport, 1

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Library of Congress Record: https://lccn.loc.gov/unk82075800