Ebro Greyhound Park Pledges Schools a Share of Potential Slots Revenue

CHIPLEY -- Ebro Greyhound Park announced Tuesday they had presented a letter of intent pledging that Washington County Schools would share in the revenue created by slot machines, should voters approve them at the track.

The letter was presented to Dr. Sandra Cooke, superintendent of Washington County Schools, and signed by Stockton Hess, president and general manager of Ebro Greyhound Park.

The track announced that the document earmarks revenues specifically for teachers’ salaries, transportation and ground maintenance, as well as other school and classroom needs. The community revenue sharing funds will go directly to the Washington County School District without passing through Tallahassee or any other hands, the statement said.

“State statutes dealing with gaming revenues do not provide for direct revenue sharing, however, we feel this is unfair to local communities,” Hess said in a statement. “We believe it is our civic duty to share revenues directly with our home county, communities and schools.”

The letter of intent to the school district follows other letters of intent to share slot machine revenues delivered last week to the county and the town of Ebro.

Hess said in the statement that the letters of intent make the revenue sharing more than a pledge, and that they are "both legally and morally binding and guarantee the revenue sharing will take place if voters support the slots initiative.

The letters will be followed by final, binding legal agreements if voters approve the addition of slots to the facility in a Jan. 31 referendum, he added.

Should slots be approved by voters, the letters commit Ebro Greyhound Park to paying an estimated combined total of two percent to three percent of gross slot machine revenue on a monthly basis to the county, Town of Ebro and Washington County School District, the track announced.

The exact percentage will be based on projected revenue and will be determined at a later date. The funds for the county and Town of Ebro are earmarked for public safety, public works and the general fund.

The track projects the amount of community revenue sharing as near $2 million annually.

In the statement from the track, Hess also asked voters "not to be swayed by misleading political mail coming from Tallahassee attempting to defeat the slots initiative and block community revenue sharing."

“These are big city outsiders who don’t care about Washington County,” he said. “They will do and say anything to sell out Washington County and protect Tallahassee’s monopoly on gaming revenues.”

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