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Jefferson County voters approve horse racing, off-track betting hands down

"Now the state of Texas will officially be able to open the process which is about a 4-6 month process," said Kevin Johnson.

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Texas — The gates have now swung open for horse racing in Jefferson County. 

Thousands of voters turned out for the November 5 ballot, which included two propositions pushing for a race track.

Proposition A: Legalizing pari-mutuel wagering on horse races in Jefferson County passed with nearly 55 percent of the votes.

For: 54.90% (6,482 votes)

Against: 45.10% (5,325 votes)

Pari-mutuel wagering means betters can wage against each other instead of with a bookie.

Proposition B: Legalizing pari-mutuel wagering on simulcast races in Jefferson County passed with more than 52 percent of votes.

For: 52.86% (6,201 votes)

Against: 47.14% (5,530 votes)

Simulcast races is a broadcast of horse races from different tracks worldwide that allow betting in multiple locations. 

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With both propositions passing, the private group can now look forward with this project.

Kevin Johnson works as a consultant for the group that is behind bringing horse racing to Jefferson County. 

Despite a successful night, he knows the state of Texas will still have to approve it. 

"Now the state of Texas will officially be able to open the process which is about a 4-6 month process," said Johnson. "We hope that by June of next year that we have everything in place."

Johnson tells 12News once the state approves the track,  it could take another year before construction could begin.

The big question now is where will the track be located.   

Johnson tells me the group is searching for 14 acres of land, preferably along Interstate 10.

Ford Park has been an option since this process began 14 months ago, but Johnson says other options are still on the table. 

The group does plan to fund the race track themselves, with no cost to the county.

MORE | 2019 Southeast Texas Voting Results

Jefferson County had 146,200 registered voters and 12,219 came out to the polls for this ballot (8.36% turnout).