TUCSON (KVOA) - Gov. Doug Ducey transformed horse racing in Pima County Tuesday when he signed a bill lifting the statutory cap on off-track betting in the county.
Until Tuesday, Pima County was the only county in the state with limitations on off-track horse betting. However, HB 2374 is increasing the number of off-track betting parlors allowed to operate here.
"Now with no limitation on the number of parlors that we may have throughout the state, literally, we think we can revitalize the cap to where the first year the revenue would be $1 million, the second year, $2 million, $3 million and on up," said Jaye Wells, president of Rillito Racing.
The Rillito Park Foundation is now looking for establishments to partner with the expansion of off-track betting, which includes mostly bars and restaurants. The foundation is bringing in a Colorado group to manage the off-track betting parlors.
Union Public House is one business under consideration for the partnership. Owner Grant Krueger says the new revenue stream would also help the hospitality industry which took a heavy hit during the pandemic.
"This is a tremendous opportunity for restaurants and bars throughout Pima County," he said. "They've had an incredibly difficult year and I think this is going to be great news for Rillito Park and great news for the hospitality industry in Pima County."
The increased cash flow will beef up purse money and will also be used to fund improvements throughout the park.
"That anyone that comes to Rillito Park for walking their dog, playing soccer or betting on the ponies, they're going to see marked improvements," said Wells.