Turf Paradise will cease operations in October.

Turf Paradise to Shut Down Operations in October
Fact Checked by Young Ruth

An important Arizona sports betting venue is set to close its doors for good next month, creating uncertainty for the state’s horse racing industry.

On October 1, Turf Paradise racetrack in Phoenix will discontinue all race events and simulcasting as owner Jerry Simms retires. The future impact on the 37 off-track betting facilities linked to the track is unknown. Turf Paradise general manager Vincent Francia confirmed that although the closure is a mix of emotions, it does not signify the end of horse racing in Arizona.

Francia informed yengols.com that Turf Paradise, with a 67-year legacy in Arizona, is undergoing a transition in the horse racing industry. Although it is not predicted to disappear, she emphasized the importance of stakeholders working together to devise innovative strategies for the track’s sustained prosperity in the future.

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Track experienced minimal success with event betting.

Despite efforts to obtain a full Arizona betting apps license during the market’s opening in 2021, Turf Paradise was only granted a limited event wagering license by the Arizona Department of Gaming in 2022. Despite legal attempts to secure a full license, the track’s requests were ultimately denied.

Retail sports betting is only allowed at Turf Paradise, Arizona Downs in Prescott Valley, and eight off-track betting locations in collaboration with Turf Paradise. Unibet Arizona has partnered with Turf Paradise to create a retail sports betting area at the track.

In June, Turf Paradise reported a total handle of $274,430, as per the ADG’s latest wagering data. The adjusted gross event wagering receipts of $42,426 were higher than eight out of the 17 mobile operators for the month. Furthermore, Turf Paradise’s receipts exceeded those of the three retail locations run by the state’s major professional franchises – BetMGM Arizona at State Farm Stadium, Caesars Arizona at Chase Field, and FanDuel Arizona at the Footprint Center.

What are the future plans for Turf Paradise?

Multiple news outlets have verified that the 252-acre horse racing facility’s sale to California-based CT Realty has been called off, prompting Simms to make the decision to close down. Francia noted that there are still numerous potential buyers interested in the Phoenix track, and the property remains on the market for either horse racing operations or redevelopment.

Francia commented that while the closure of Turf Paradise symbolizes the end of an era, it also signifies the beginning of a new chapter for Arizona racing as it embarks on a new phase of growth and development.

Arizona will be down to just two fully sanctioned horse racing tracks, Arizona Downs in Prescott Valley and Rillito Downs in Tucson, once Turf Paradise shuts down. Despite this, Francia is hopeful that a way can be found to prevent the closure of the Phoenix track, as the veteran general manager does not see it as an unavoidable outcome.

He highlighted the importance of Turf Paradise, pointing out its nearly seven decades of operation. Featuring both dirt and turf tracks, the racetrack attracts horsemen from Arizona and California. As Arizona’s inaugural sports franchise, Turf Paradise boasts a long history that predates popular teams such as the Suns and Diamondbacks.

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Author

Peterson Christopher

Peterson Christopher has been reporting on sports and sports betting in Arizona for more than seven years, bringing his expertise from previous roles at ArizonaSports.com, the Tucson Weekly, and the Green Valley News. Currently, he is the lead writer at yengols.com.

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