Canterbury 2011 Revenues Up Despite Gov’t Shutdown

Boosted sales in Canterbury Park's newly remodeled card casino, combined with increased consumer spending and a mild winter, more than offset the severe impact of the July state government shutdown, which forced the park to close for 20 days and negatively impacted financial results for the 2011 third quarter.

Despite being negatively impacted by the state government shutdown last year, Canterbury Park Holding Corporation's 2011 revenues and income were up compared to the prior year.

The Shakopee-based company-which operates Canterbury Park-on Tuesday reported revenues totaling $40.6 million for the year, up 1.7 percent from the company's 2010 revenues of $39.9 million. Net income totaled $397,667, compared to a net loss of $992,206 in 2010.

Canterbury said that increased sales from its card casino-which was remodeled last year-boosted its finances and more than offset the negative impact of the government shutdown in July, which forced it to cease operations for 20 days. Mild winter weather, which encouraged more visits to the park, and increased consumer spending also contributed to increased sales, the company said.

In addition to the card casino, Canterbury Park offers live horse racing between May and September and year-round simulcasting of horse races. The park's operations are regulated by the Minnesota Racing Commission (MRC)-a state agency that was forced to cease operations during the government shutdown. The park also had to close during that period because the MRC must be operational in order for Canterbury to keep its doors open.

After the state government resumed operations on July 21, the park's leaders sought to recoup lost funds by scheduling some additional races, moving traditional Fourth of July events to Labor Day, and extending the season past the traditional Labor Day ending. However, Canterbury CEO Randy Sampson said in mid-August that he didn't expect those efforts would have a significant impact on the company's bottom line.

The government shutdown severely hurt the company's earnings for the third quarter of 2011. Revenues declined 9.1 percent to $10.92 million for the period spanning from July through September.

Sampson said in a statement that he is pleased with the 2011 full-year results, but added that the park's business “continues to be challenged by many factors, including competition from Native American casinos that are able to offer a wider variety of gaming products, competition from out-of-state racetracks, and illegal Internet wagering.”

Sampson said that Canterbury will continue to advocate for legislation that would allow it to offer slot machines and other forms of gaming at its racetrack-a business model called a racino.

The company said that a racino would stimulate economic growth in horse racing and related agri-businesses in Minnesota, provide growth and development opportunities that would add jobs at the park and in the surrounding community and provide new revenues for state and local governments.

Canterbury is among the state's 80-largest public companies based on revenue.