Michigan Gov.'s Inaction Kills Instant Racing

A bill that would have allowed more gambling at Michigan race tracks has died without Gov. Rick Snyder's signature.

Snyder effectively vetoed House Bill 5546 by taking no action. The legislation would have added historical racing games, commonly known as Instant Racing, at struggling horse tracks in Hazel Park, Mount Pleasant, Swartz Creek, and Northville.

Snyder spokesman Caleb Buhs says the bill wasn't signed because it clashes with the state Constitution and is probably illegal. A 2004 amendment requires voter approval for new gambling.

The measure had passed the Senate by a 24-11 vote last Dec. 14 after having cleared the House of Representatives Nov. 8 by a 91-16 vote.

The legislation called for 15% of Instant Racing revenue to go to horsemen for purses.

Impacted by competition from in-state casino gambling, racing in Michigan has seen major contraction in recent years. Thoroughbred meets are now held at a country fairground and Standardbred racing is now limited to three tracks, down from seven years ago.
 

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