This year’s Topsham Fair will celebrate its 153rd year as well as the fact that the slot machines have come to town. The fair will have many more attractions than they used to have, as well as a harness racing field that would not have been possible had slot machines not been legalized at Hollywood Slots in Bangor.
The harness racing tracks have gotten 39% subsidies for the past year and a half from the slots revenues at the Bangor casino. However, this is the first year that they have actually been able to do something with that money. You can see it in the horses that are there this year, and in the size of the purse.
With that slot machine revenue, the higher purses will pull in horses from other tracks, etc. which they just can’t do without that money. Last year they were looking at purses around $1,000 and this year they are twice that amount. Many said that these were easily the biggest purses that the track had ever offered.
Everyone agreed that the racinos – races and slot machines – were the best thing to come to racing. Many tracks would not have survived had they not been able to bring in the slot machines, and thus there would have been hundreds of thousands of people out of work.
They are also excited about what will happen to their slot machine revenues when the permanent structure is completed. There will be more slot machines and thus more revenue for the tracks – which ultimately leads to bigger purses, and better horses. They should see the increase in their 2009 season.