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Economic contribution of Minnesota's horse racing industry

Key findings for communities 

  • In 2015, Minnesota’s horse racing industry generated an estimated $409.2 million of economic activity in the state. Of this, $176.1 million was the result of direct spending by the horse racing industry—owners, trainers, breeders, Canterbury Park, Running Aces, and the Minnesota Racing Commission (MRC).
  • The industry stimulated an estimated $233.1 million in economic activity at non-race horse related industries across the state.
  • The biggest benefits from the horse racing industry occur in Minnesota’s manufacturing, health and social services, and agriculture industries.
  • In 2015, Minnesota’s horse racing industry supported an estimated 5,590 full and part-time jobs in the state. Of this, the industry directly employed an estimated 3,960 people.

About this study

The Minnesota Racing Commission (MRC) contracted with University of Minnesota Extension to conduct an economic contribution study of Minnesota’s horse racing industry. The horse racing industry in Minnesota is successful compared to other states, but it is part of a rapidly changing environment. This analysis found the industry currently contributes $409.2 million and 5,590 jobs to Minnesota’s economy. Understanding the industry’s significant role in the state’s economy is valuable for future planning by industry leaders and policymakers.

According to the MRC, its mission is to operate “in the public interest to ensure the integrity of horse racing and card playing, oversee the proper distribution of funds back into the industry, and provide for the safety and welfare of the human and equine participants.”

Minnesota's horse racing industry has 1,472 licensed horse owners, 211 licensed trainers, and 214 breeders. In 2015, 348 foals, or newborns, were registered as Minnesota born. On average, survey results indicate each owner has eight horses, three of which are in training in Minnesota. According to the survey, each trainer is responsible for an average of 15 horses, nine of which are in active training. Horse breeders also report an average of 11 horses on their farms.

To measure economic contributions, Extension surveyed horse owners, breeders, and trainers. Minnesota’s premier horse racing venues, Canterbury Park and Running Aces, along with MRC, provided their employment and spending data for analysis.

Keywords: Economic Impact Analysis, Horse 

More about this report 

Read full report (PDF)

Author(s)

Brigid Tuck, Senior Economic Impact Analyst, Extension

Reviewed in 2017

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