HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A regulatory horse racing board in Montana has paid off a loan to the state three years ahead of schedule after making a $62,000 payment, officials said.

Great Falls Tribune reported Monday that the Montana Board of Horse Racing erased a more than $628,000 debt to the state after making its final payment to the Department of Administration last month.

A department spokeswoman confirmed Monday the payment had been made and that money could now be invested and earn more interest for the General Fund.

The Montana Board of Horse Racing regulates the horse racing industry statewide, both live and simulcast, and is funded with a state special revenue.

Financial troubles occurred after the board took over simulcasting from an operator in 2010, which was losing money, officials said.

The debt was incurred in 2012 after horse racing ended in Kalispell and Billings and some venues including in Missoula got rid of their tracks, said Brenda Wahler, a Helena attorney and author of “Montana Horse Racing - A History.”

Board members say they are seeking ways to generate more money.

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