South Carolina Equine Committee Meets
On Wednesday, January 5, The South Carolina Equine Study Committee met in Columbia. Members of the Committee are Chairman Representative Russell Ott, Senator Dick Harpootlian, Senator Katrina Shealy, Representative Bill Hixon, Kip Elser, Debby McCutchen and Jack Sadler.
The Committee heard testimony first from Lisa Zapollo, President of the South Carolina Horse Council. She emphasized how the Thoroughbred, Quarter Horse and other horse disciplines can bring in vast amounts of money into South Carolina. Due to competition from surrounding states, the number of horses in our state is dwindling.
Tom Lee then gave testimony. Tom is Vice President of the Tennessee Sports Wagering Advisory Council and Chairman of the Rule Making Committee. He outlined how Advanced Deposit Wagering operates in Tennessee and then fielded many questions from the Committee members. He was very articulate and informative helping the Committee understand how ADW can benefit our equine industry in South Carolina. Lee also encouraged the need for the formation of an equine commission.
Due to illness, Tom Aronson, President of Racing Resources Group, was unable to give testimony in person but he was able to submit a report. Aronson has been head of legislative affairs for the American Horse Council, senior Vice President of Television Games Network and was a pioneer creator of the modern Advanced Deposit Wagering business. Aronson believes South Carolina needs new tools to compete for investments in horse farms, horse breeding, training centers, veterinary activity and other horse based enterprises that are currently flowing out of South Carolina into surrounding states.
In his report, Aronson explains the benefits of ADW and how it can help raise funds and enhance the equine industry in our state. Money derived can enable South Carolina to provide owner and breeding bonuses.
SCTOBA Board member Marsha Hewitt noted the popularity and benefits of trail riding opportunities in our state parks. This activity has diminished due to lack of funds to maintain trails.
The next step is for the Committee to provide a report to the state legislature requesting the formation of an equine commission.