California Gov. Gray Davis on Monday signed legislation that authorizes account wagering and calls for the unionization of backstretch workers at the state's racetracks. And the racing industry couldn't be happier.
- By Tom LaMarra
The Oregon wagering hub first operated by NTRA Services and now in the hands of the TV Games Network handled $13,033,508 for the second quarter of this year, more than double the first-quarter handle and by far its best three months ever.
- By Tom LaMarra
As the California horse racing industry awaited action by Gov. Gray Davis on account wagering legislation, the TV Games Network and Thoroughbred Owners of California announced they had reached an agreement in principle to protect purses should live handle be negatively impacted by account betting.
Legislation that would bring off-track and account wagering to New Jersey will be signed into law at Monmouth Park Aug. 5, the day of the $1 million Haskell Invitational Handicap.
- By Greg Risling
Major legislation that would authorize account wagering and unionization of backstretch workers cleared the California Senate Appropriations Committee Monday and now heads to the Senate floor.
The New Jersey Assembly on Thursday approved legislation to legalize off-track and account wagering in the state. The measure now moves to the Senate floor.
Top officials in Michigan said an investigation has revealed that pari-mutuel wagering companies have illegally accepted wagers from Michigan residents by telephone or through the Internet. The companies have been sent "warning letters," the officials said.
Calling a backstretch unionization bill filed in the state Assembly a "very real threat to the viability of California's entire Thoroughbred racing industry," the California Thoroughbred Trainers organization is urging its members to actively oppose AB 856 as it works its way through the legislative process this year.
After much delay, a bill which would legalize off-track and account,
or phone, wagering in New Jersey has been introduced into the legislature.
Legislation that would grant Oaklawn Park a reduction in its pari-mutuel excise tax is back in the Arkansas Senate's Committee on Revenue and Tax after having failed to pass the Senate Thursday. The bill has already been amended to strike out language that would authorize Oaklawn and Southland Greyhound Park to engage in account wagering.
"Recognizing Oaklawn's significant contributions to tourism and retirement in Arkansas and an increased challenge to compete with race tracks in surrounding states," state senator Terry Smith (D-Hot Springs) filed a two-pronged pari-mutuel bill Thursday in an effort to protect Oaklawn's economic contributions to Arkansas. If passed, Senate Bill 602 would amend the state privilege tax rate on pari-mutuel wagering on horse racing, while also authorizing Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs and Southland Greyhound Park in West Memphis to conduct account wagering.
A bill which would appropriate $18 million to purses at New Jersey racetracks is scheduled to go before a Senate committee on Thursday, where it is expected to pass, according to a Barbara DeMarco-Reiche, lobbyist for the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association, Inc. The monies would boost purses at the upcoming Monmouth Park meet, as well as the fall Meadowlands meet, to nearly $300,000 per day.
Beulah Park's online wagering service called Winticket.com got full approval by the Ohio State Racing Commission before the service was developed, said an Ohio judge. Therefore, the judge said, state officials cannot arbitrarily decide they want the service stopped until online wagering is further evaluated.
Management at Philadelphia Park sent a letter to all of its Phonebet customers in New Jersey advising them that it expects to receive formal notice from the New Jersey Racing Commission to stop accepting their phone wagers. "Once the commission issues this formal directive (expected to be on Jan. 20), you will receive notice from us and all New Jersey accounts will be closed," the letter states.
The TV Games Network will make its long-awaited debut on Lexington cable television Thursday. As usual, racing from Aqueduct, Calder Race Course, Fair Grounds, and Turfway Park will be offered in the afternoon. TVG has been available on cable television in the Louisville, Ky., market for two years, and before that, its predecessor, On Demand Services, offered live racing on cable TV in that market. In Lexington, Insight Communications has slotted TVG as Channel 5
Magna Entertainment, the growing racetrack company run by Frank Stronach, has entered into an agreement with Ladbroke Racing and a subsidiary to purchase Ladbroke's Pennsylvania-based account wagering system ("Call-A-Bet"), the Meadows harness track, and four off-track betting facilities, plus an interest in the Racing Network satellite TV channel.
Before Congress adjourned Friday, legislation clarifying the Interstate Horseracing Act of 1978 regarding simulcast and account wagering was passed as part of a package of appropriations bills. The Internet Gambling Prohibition Act was not part of the legislation passed Friday and sent to President Clinton for his signature. The legislation, advanced by Senators Mitch McConnell and Jim Bunning, both Kentucky Republicans, and Rep. Hal Rogers, also a Republican from Kentucky, was sought to address concerns that arose as part of the internet gambling prohibition bill.
The Maryland Jockey Club announced Friday a reorganization of its executive board, including the hiring of Louis J. Raffetto, who will become the MJC's chief operating officer effective Jan. 1, 2001. The MJC also announced new titles and responsibilities for three current members of its board.
Congress will reconvene Nov. 14, and language tied to the protection of interstate simulcasting and account wagering remains alive.
A deal that gives the TV Games Network the exclusive right to conduct interactive wagering on Breeders' Cup Championship Day races has left other account-wagering providers wondering how the decision will impact their ability to carry the Breeders' Cup program Nov. 4 at Churchill Downs.
California Gov. Gray Davis, who is opposed to the expansion of gambling in his state, has vetoed legislation that would have paved the way for account wagering. The decision is a blow to racetracks and account-wagering providers who hoped for serious growth in pari-mutuel handle.
California Gov. Gray Davis' veto of legislation that would have authorized account wagering and backstretch unionization is a major setback for the state's pari-mutuel industry.
New Jersey Gov. Christine Whitman conditionally vetoed legislation Thursday that would have allowed off-track and account wagering in the state.
- By Ray Paulick
By Ray Paulick -- It is not an exaggeration to say that the federal government's actions regarding Thoroughbred racing could be a matter of life and death for this industry.
- By Ray Paulick
By Ray Paulick -- California Gov. Gray Davis will be doing the right thing by signing the account wagering legislation into law.
- By Ray Paulick
California Gov. Gray Davis is a pro-labor Democrat who has spoken out in opposition to the expansion of gambling in his state. That's why a bill passed in the waning hours of the 2000 California legislative session poses something of a dilemma to the first-term governor.
The nation's most populous state is one step closer to offering account wagering. In the waning hours of the 2000 legislative session on Thursday night, the California Assembly voted 56-6 in favor of a compromise bill permitting what it calls "advance deposit wagering" for pari-mutuel racing but also requiring backstretch reforms that could result in labor unions being represented among stable workers. Read the full text of the bill here.
As an Aug. 31 deadline for legislative action neared, proponents of account wagering in California were busy trying to hammer out a compromise with union officials. Account wagering and the unionization of backstretch employees are linked through two separate pieces of legislation.
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