A Montana businessman has announced that the state’s horse racing simulcast network is expected to end this week.
Businessman Nick Alonzo has operated Montana Simulcast Racing LLC every day since 2012, but he’s not expecting to renew a one-year contract with the Montana Board of Horse Racing, the Missoulian reported Monday.
The board regulates the horse racing industry, both live and simulcast. The contract ends Dec. 31.
There are fewer bettors because the older generation who understood racing is dying or moving and the younger generation is only interested in betting once a year on the Kentucky Derby or football and other fantasy sports, Alonzo said.
Katie O’Keefe’s Casino, Halftime Sports Bar in Great Falls and the Enterprise Casino in Billings are off-track betting sites that will close operations this week, officials said. Locations in Helena, Kalispell and Miles City closed earlier this year because of increasing cost and decreasing revenue, officials said.
Even if no simulcast operator replaces Alonzo, live races in 2020 will occur over three days in May tied to the Miles City Bucking Horse Sale and over five days in July in Great Falls before and during the Montana State Fair.
The racing board confirmed $100,000 in state funds for Great Falls and $50,000 for Miles City, officials said.