On Monday, June 23, the Virginia Racing Commission held a special called meeting where the commission ordered Colonial Downs to enter into a 2015 thoroughbred season contract with the VHBPA.

“You’re saying in the 17 years the hasn’t made a profit, and that may well be, but [Jeff Jacobs] applied for the license and as a licensee he has a responsibility to meet that primary responsibility of supporting the agribusiness industry in Virginia while hopefully making a profit.”

“If [Jacobs] can’t meet that responsibility, he needs to surrender the license and let someone else give it a go,” Miller added.

Miller suggested that if the racetrack does not sign a 2015 thoroughbred season contract with the VHBPA by July 1, that Jacobs either voluntarily surrender his license or the VRC force him to surrender the license.

“You have a decision to make. You either keep the store open or close it,” Miller said.

To date, Colonial Downs has lost in excess of $2 million, while the VHBPA has lost $1.5 million and the VRC has lost $337,000 as a result of the contract dispute.

However, all three, as well as the Virginia Thoroughbred Association (VTA), still profit from the racetrack’s online wagering website, EZHorseplay. Colonial Downs and the VHBPA both receive five percent of these wagers. The VTA receives one percent and the VRC receives 0.5 percent.

New Kent County has estimated a $402,000 loss in local revenue from the lack of the 2014 thoroughbred season and has factored it into its fiscal year 2015 budget.

According to County Administrator Rodney Hathaway, most of the money is attributed to the loss of OTB revenue but does factor in meals tax and admission tax.

Residents could see a tax increase in future fiscal years to make up for lost revenue if Colonial Downs continues to operate without thoroughbred racing at the track and OTBs.

“Another $402,000 debt could very well affect taxes,” Hathaway said. “That amount alone could mean a one or 2-cent tax increase.”

“If our annual operating costs get higher, the domestic services grow, and expenditures go up but we have less revenue, we will most likely have to raise taxes,” he said.

Martin can be reached by phone at 804-885-0040.