MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The thoroughbred horse racing industry has a $191.1 million economic impact on Jefferson County, accounting for 1,450 jobs, $36.3 million in employee compensation and $1.9 in assorted state taxes. Those are the findings of a study announced by the West Virginia University College of Business and Economics.
The study, conducted by the business school’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research (BBER), indicates that the thoroughbred horse industry is a very vibrant and important part of the Jefferson County economy, as it examined the economic impact of this segment of the industry in 2010.
“I didn’t realize how important the thoroughbred horse industry was to Jefferson County until we started this process,” said Dr. Tom S. Witt, BBER director. “This industry is composed of owners, breeders and trainers, many of whom reside in and around Charles Town, as well as an extensive network of veterinarians, feed suppliers, equine supply stores, insurance agents and others in the region.”
“While the bulk of this activity is centered on the Charles Town Races track in Jefferson County, the economic impacts affect other parts of the state as well,” Witt said.
These estimated economic impacts are conservative, since they do not include the operational impacts of the Charles Town Races or the expenditures made by visitors to the track who made purchases in and around the racing facility, including concessions, hotel accommodations, restaurants, and gasoline.
The study results are based upon extensive surveys conducted of owners, breeders, trainers and jockeys, wherein questions were asked about their annual operating expenses during 2010. The results of these surveys determined figures for the total economic impact of the thoroughbred horse racing industry in Jefferson County, the total number of industry jobs, employee compensation and funds collected through various state taxes. The study also found that some breeders had made significant capital investments in breeding farm facilities.
The authors of the study were Amy Godfrey, BBER economist; Tess Meinert, BBER undergraduate research assistant; and Witt. Funding for the study was provided by the Charles Town Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association and the West Virginia Thoroughbred Breeders Association.
Click here to view a copy of the report.