Mass. speaker sees value beyond gaming in horse farms


Horse farms in Massachusetts can mean more business, according to some lawmakers and farm owners.

“We have an industry here in Massachusetts that I think, with some revenue, can thrive here in Massachusetts. I think we can do a whole lot better,” said House Speaker Robert DeLeo.

DeLeo said he has support from several members of the House to push for expanding gaming legislature through horse racing.

State Rep. Steven Howitt, of Seekonk, invited the speaker to Overnite Farm in Rehoboth for a tour on Friday.

“It’s important for him to see so many people’s livings are dependent upon the farms. There are so many ancillary businesses, just gasoline alone, what they spend on their trucks and their trailers and it’s so important to see that this industry is not a dying industry in Massachusetts and it’s important we keep it alive,” Howitt said.

Talk of staggering amounts of open space across the state designated as horse farms may serve as the sort of inventory the state sees as an untapped revenue source.

“People talk about all this development. Well, here’s a farm, here’s open space, you can breed. It’s a very nice facility,” Howitt said.

Owners of Overnite Farm said the visit from DeLeo is appropriate and they were glad he came.

“I think now seeing us how hard we work, it’s a passion so maybe they can put a face on it, and how crucial it is to have slots at the tracks,” said Jennifer Allen of Overnite Farm.

DeLeo said other business like cafes and tack shops would also benefit from expanding gaming. 

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