Double Edged Sword

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Missoula authorities that thought of stopping horse racing have second thoughts. Horse racing lovers bring in dollars to the County Fair Grounds, and form the bulk of the crowds as well. Just one company from Philadelphia, as we reported earlier, insures all Montana racetracks, and the monopoly has resulted in enormous increases in insurance costs. Fair authorities also crib about the ambulance and related emergency management costs that are inevitable when a terrible accident works: Missoula is known to have a couple of these every year.

Fair authorities also fret about potential legal claims from riders incapacitated by their injuries during horse racing. The probability is low, but the costs could wreck entire County budgets should the worst happen. Obviously, one cannot rule out major accidents in a sport such as horse racing.

The Montana Board of Horse Racing has stepped in and offered to help the ground raise loans to pay for the increased insurance costs, and then repay such debts from future earnings from horse racing. Will that be enough to keep horse racing alive in Montana?

The pleasure of punters, including those who use online sports betting amenities to participate in Missoula racing from other places, is all on the line as authorities struggle to find a way out of the impasse. Missoula would do well to consider additional retail outlets and recreation options by the racetrack in a bid to creatively raise additional revenues.

Many racetrack owners and administrators watch Missoula anxiously as many of them are in similar situations. They all need feasible answers to rising insurance and litigation issues, so that they can take their horse racing plans forward.