This action, effective at midnight on June 30, 2011, was taken after Minnesota’s Governor and Legislature failed to reach an agreement on the State’s budget for the biennium beginning July 1, 2011. The situation forced several state agencies, including the Minnesota Racing Commission (the “MRC”), which regulates Canterbury Park’s pari-mutuel and Card Casino gaming operations, to cease its operations due to the lack of an appropriation of funds.
“I am extremely disappointed that we have been forced to suspend our gaming operations due to the state government shutdown. Beginning today and each day that follows, so long as the impasse continues and our horse racing, simulcasting and Card Casino operations are suspended, we will suffer severe financial loss. We will lose gaming and concession revenues in excess of $1 million per week even as we continue to incur substantial operating expenses, including expenses to support our backside horse population. Moreover, without any revenues coming in, we are now forced to begin laying off substantially all of our 1,100 full time and part time employees, causing hardship for them and their families.” stated Randy Sampson, Canterbury Park’s President and CEO.
Canterbury Park operates a live racing facility with a 62-day schedule, as well as card casino open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and offering both poker and table games. The Company also conducts year-round wagering on simulcast horse racing and hosts a variety of other entertainment and special events at its facility in Shakopee, Minnesota.
In the meantime, Canterbury Park Holding Corporation will continue to pursue measures through legal channels that to resume operations at Canterbury Park. As previously reported, the Company is one of the plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed in Scott County District Court that seeks an order directing the State to provide funding for the Minnesota Racing Commission during the budget impasse. Currently, the resources needed to provide such funding are supplied in totality by payments from racetracks and other racing industry sources. The Minnesota Supreme Court directed that this lawsuit be consolidated with other applications for relief from the partial government shutdown.
“We are hopeful that a government shutdown is short-lived and that a budget solution will soon be found that is acceptable to both the Governor and the Legislature. However, should the stalemate continue, there is the real possibility that owners and trainers will likely start moving their horses from Canterbury to other racetracks within a week or two of July 1, and, once they leave, it is unlikely they will return. Clearly, if the budget impasse continues beyond early July the impact could be devastating for Canterbury and the horse industry. We could lose the entire remainder of the racing season.” concluded Mr. Sampson.