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Arizona Race Tracks Feel Pinch of Competition From Indian Casinos

26 September 2000

PHOENIX, Arizona – Sept 26, 2000 -- As reported by the Associated Press "Arizona's horse and dog tracks haven't been quite the money makers for the state in recent years that they were in the days before Indian casinos took off.

"…Track owners say they face unfair competition from Indian tribes who don't pay direct taxes to the state and are the only ones able to offer profitable slot machines.

Revenues at the state's four dog tracks' live races have plunged to $77 million from $116.3 million from 1993 to 1999.

The story is the same at live races at the state's four horse racing tracks, where revenues slid to $46.5 million from $80.6 million during the same period.

The change is easy to see at Phoenix's Greyhound Park, where seven years ago the grandstands would be packed with 6,000 people for nightly fall races. Today, fall crowds top out at 1,000, said marketing director Bac Tran.

'Now you get your choice of seats,' he said. "Only so many people like to gamble socially, so now we're competing with more venues."

"…Gary Anders, an Arizona State University West economics professor who studies gambling, said Indian casinos have an advantage because, "There is more stimulation, a faster pace, immediate satisfaction."

Casinos are also open when tracks aren't, and they offer free drinks and complimentary bus rides that deliver players to their door, he said…"

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