Fantasy football comes to the rescue of horse racing in Minnesota. Wait, what? 

From here:

While some states have used the development of racinos and the introduction of slots at tracks as a method to subsidize and save the horse racing industry, Montana has come up with an intriguing alternative. The state legislature has passed a plan to create a statewide fantasy football league, which would pay funds to horse tracks.

So let me make sure I have this straight. Horce racing isn’t doing so well in Minnesota, due, according to this article, to “rising costs and diminishing returns.” In order to save it, the state will operate its own fantasy football league, with payouts of “74% for participants.” The leftover cash will be “divided 15 % to the fantasy operator, 24% to the facility, and 61% into a reserve fund.” I assume the “reserve fund” part goes to the horse racing industry. Who knows what the “facility” is.

In essence, Minnesota will be creating a new state lottery, with fantasy football in the place of scratch-off tickets and Scan-Tron sheets. While I’m happy to see that there are apparently at least a few influential fantasy football fans in the Minnesota state government, this plan seems downright silly to me. Using a government-run version of a popular form of gambling to bail out a struggling one has “epic fail” written all over it. Why not put the same amount of effort and expense into a strategy that might actually revive the sport of horse racing itself, rather than propping up a sinking ship with some bizarre corporate welfare scheme? Improve the marketing. Renovate the facilities. Come up with innovative and fun betting options. Hell, why not create a fantasy horse racing league and generate some actual interest in the sport itself?