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Pennsylvania Race Wagering

Pennsylvania permits pari-mutuel betting on live horse racing. It also allows offtrack betting. The Pennsylvania State Horse and State Harness Racing Commissions (PA Racing), both part of the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, regulate the horse racing industry with a common mission. There are six horse racing tracks in operation within the state: Harrah's Philadelphia, Penn National, The Meadows, Parx Racing, Pocono Downs and Presque Isle Downs.

Pennsylvania's horse racing industry experienced a revenue surge after the 2004 Race Horse Development and Gaming Act authorized the construction of racinos. The Act established the Pennsylvania Race Horse Development Fund (PRHDF) to help the viability and quality of horse racing in Pennsylvania. Under the 2004 casino law, the PRHDF receives 12% of slot revenue from racetrack casinos and 6% from non-track casinos in Pennsylvania. Through 2009, the PRHDF distributed money to racetrack owners hosting live horse racing (to augment live horse racing purses), thoroughbred breeding, standardbred breeding, the Sires' Stakes Program, and health insurance and pension benefits for horsemen. In 2010, it also began directing money to the state's general fund to make up budgetary shortfalls. In 2012, PRHDF began distributing funds directed to the Farm Products Show Fund. In 2013, more money was taken from the fund for agricultural programs. In 2014, another $4.2 million from the PRHDF was redirected to the State Racing Fund.

In January 2008, Governor Edward G. Rendell consolidated the administrative offices for thoroughbred and standardbred racing. The reorganization allowed for a single point of contact for the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board with respect to licensing and enforcement. PA Racing remained as two separate commissions under Agriculture.
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