Texas Racing Commission orders Sam Houston Race Park to close its doors

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Caught in the middle of a legal and funding war, the Sam Houston Race Park is being forced to close its doors at midnight.

The last televised race airs at 11:50pm.

The park's imminent closure comes as a result of the battle happening at the Texas Legislature over how much money to give the Texas Racing Commission after it recently approved a controversial form of gambling.

Last week, commissioners voted to let Texas horse and dog tracks install "historical racing" terminals. That allows people to bet on already-run races stripped of identifying information. That move cast doubt on whether the Legislative Budget Board, consisting of Senate and House members, would authorize funding for the racing commission.

If no deal is struck by midnight, the commission ceases operations, and as a result, the Sam Houston Race Park loses its ability to import simulcast wagering, live racing and export live signals.

    "After an entire summer with the cloud of a shutdown hanging over the industry's head, I am bewildered that certain members of the Texas Senate appear to have blocked the release of essential funds to the Texas Racing Commission," Sam Houston Race Park President Andrea B. Young said in a prepared statement of Eyewitness News. "We thank our friends in the Legislature and other branches of government who have fought to protect the Texas racing industry and the hard-working individuals it employs. The legislature did not intend this result, which will now shutter Texas racing facilities, putting thousands of jobs at risk. We believe that this result is irresponsible. We urge the Lieutenant Governor to stand up for 36,000 jobs now before this goes any further.

    In the meantime, we will continue to examine our legal options. We plan to continue our fight for all the hardworking Texans that make up the Texas Horse industry."

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick announced earlier Monday that the board's Senate members agreed to fund the commission temporarily, for at least the next three months. But its House members balked, saying they'd like to see the commission fully funded. Negotiations expire at midnight.

The Associated Press contributed to this report
Related topics:
houstontexas news
Copyright © 2019 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.