A key Illinois lawmaker has unveiled comprehensive gaming legislation that would authorize 3,200 slot machines for Illinois racetracks.
The Pennsylvania Horse Breeders Association has put its support behind legislation that would give horsemen 25% of gross revenue from racetrack slot machines. Meanwhile, a prominent Standardbred breeder told members of a Senate Finance Committee May 6 breeders won't receive enough revenue under splits contained in two slots bills that have been introduced.
A deal to bring video lottery terminals to New York racetracks with an increased slice of the pie for track operators includes other provisions, including removal of restrictions on pari-mutuel takeout. The VLT deal is expected to bring the state $165 million this year, legislative sources said.
A deal to entice New York racetracks to install video lottery terminals was close the evening of April 28, but officials acknowledged a side deal is being hammered out to bring VLTs to the state's off-track betting parlors.
Another legislative package that would bring video gaming to Michigan racetracks has been launched in the state House. And while circumstances point to this attempt as having the best chance yet of becoming law, lurking in the corner is the 600-pound gorilla of the Michigan gaming industry--the Detroit casino lobby--ready to quash any infringement upon its territory.
Instant Racing, a pari-mutuel video lottery game currently offered at racetracks in Arkansas, has been approved by the Oregon Racing Commission for use at the state's racetracks. Oregon is the second state to approve the devices.
A survey of Minnesota residents indicates 70% support a plan to open a racino at Canterbury Park as a means to raise revenue for the state budget.
The first of three hearings on slot machines at racetracks in Pennsylvania was held by the Senate Finance Committee April 22. The hearing was highlighted by comments from Sen. Robert Tomlinson, who said he would make some changes to the bill he introduced that has the support of racetrack operators in the state.
Delaware Park will kick off its more than six-month racing season April 26 with the $75,000 Legal Light Stakes, one of 30 major events on the stakes calendar. The highlight is the $750,000 Delaware Handicap, a grade II race set for July 20.
Racetrack slot machines ran into many roadblocks during the Maryland legislative session this year, but some lawmakers said the issue will come up again in 2004, and that it has a good chance to pass.
New York is poised to give a greater share of video lottery terminal revenue to racetracks and at the same time add more to education, New York Racing Association chairman Barry Schwartz said April 18.
The Bensalem, Pa., Township Council gave preliminary approval April 15 to Philadelphia Park for construction of a 149,000-square-foot temporary building that's expected to house 3,000 slot machines should legislation pass.
Though racetrack slot machines still haven't been approved by the Pennsylvania legislature, the Bensalem Township Council is scheduled to vote April 14 on Philadelphia Park's plans for a building to house the machines.
Officials in Texas said support for racetrack gaming continues to grow in state government and in communities with pari-mutuel facilities.
The Ohio House of Representatives April 9 passed a t wo-year budget that opens the door for a public vote on video lottery terminals at Ohio's seven racetracks.
A Quinnipiac University Poll released April 2 indicates support for the addition of video lottery terminals and/or slot machines at state racetracks, both as a tool for balancing the state budget and to help the state's struggling horse racing industry.
Top government officials have shot down reports New York City Off Track Betting Corp. may be in line to get video lottery terminals for its betting parlors.
The issue of video lottery terminals at Ohio racetracks is again being discussed in the Ohio General Assembly. The latest proposal would put the question up for public vote later this year.
A proposal for racetrack slot machines is up for a vote in Maryland April 2, but a key legislator said the measure would fail.
A Louisiana Senate committee April 1 approved slot machines for Fair Grounds in New Orleans. The measure, which passed on a 4-2 vote, now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.
The Ohio Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners has issued a serious call to the state's racing and breeding industry as it pushes for alternative gaming: Nothing will be accomplished without a strong grass-roots campaign, and should gaming be approved, track operators must invest revenue to promote horse racing and revitalize aging facilities.
Texas Sen. Ken Armbrister recently filed a bill to legalize video lottery terminals at the 10 licensed horse and dog racetracks in the state. The legislation apparently cames in response to pleas for alternative gaming at tracks from the Texas Horsemen's Partnership, the Texas Racing Agri-Industry Council, and the Texas Thoroughbred Association.
With video lottery terminals suddenly emerging as an item in state budget talks, the top Republican in the state Legislature said he cannot support a controversial video lottery terminal bill proposed by his fellow Republican, Gov. George Pataki.
Illinois harness horsemen have ended a 2 1/2-month entry-box boycott with a deal that makes new state-authorized funding for all Illinois racing interests even more vital.
The horse racing industry should be pretty healthy 20 years from now -- if it properly embraces technology, expanded wagering opportunities, alternative gaming, and the breeding side of business remains vital, top racetrack officials said March 14.
Organizations that represent Thoroughbred horsemen in Pennsylvania have voiced opposition to racetrack gaming legislation because the return to purses and breed development is insufficient in their view.
The Pennsylvania Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association is opposed to a racetrack gaming bill that would award 15% of gross revenue to purses and 1% to breed development. Meanwhile, an official at Philadelphia Park said he can't understand the horsemen's position.
Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley and former mayor William Donald Schaefer have urged lawmakers to pass legislation to ensure the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course remains in Baltimore.
A consolidation plan that would make the West Virginia Racing Commission part of a broader Gambling Commission is headed to "interim study," said a representative of one organization that has expressed concern over the proposal.
Consolidation came to Illinois racing with a financial question mark on the first day of March as National Jockey Club opened its winter-spring meet at Hawthorne Race Course.
Purse accounts at Pennsylvania racetracks would earn 21.5% of gross revenue from track-based slot machines under legislation introduced Feb. 26 by Sen. Robert Tomlinson, whose district includes Philadelphia Park.
With legislation to authorize racetrack gaming apparently dead during the current legislative session in Kentucky, the racing industry is expected to begin another campaign well before the 2004 session begins.
Kentucky racetrack operators made their case Feb. 21 for the right to operate electronic gaming devices, but the House Appropriations and Revenue Committee postponed action on the legislation pending review of how the state's share of revenue would be spent.
Three pieces of legislation that would directly impact Indiana's horse racing industry are making their way through the General Assembly.
The Louisiana State Gaming Control Board gave its approval Feb. 18 for Harrah's Entertainment to operate slot machines at Louisiana Downs.
Legislation to authorize electronic gaming devices at Kentucky racetracks was introduced Feb. 18 with a new twist: The tracks have offered to pay hundreds of millions of dollars up front to help the state tackle its lingering budget crisis as long as they get exclusive rights to gaming in the marketplace.
With the 90-day session of the General Assembly at its midpoint, the effort to legalize slot machines at Maryland racetracks has bogged down. Gov. Robert Ehrlich Jr. has gone back to the drawing board with his proposal which had, incredibly, angered nearly everyone.
A Delaware legislator has introduced a bill that calls for expansion of video gaming to "qualified entertaiment zones" along the Delaware River. Currently, only three racetracks in the state--Delaware Park, Dover Downs, and Harrington Raceway--are permitted to have video lottery terminals.
Legislation to legalize pari-mutuel pull-tabs could mean solid footing for Churchill Downs-owned Hoosier Park and upstart Indiana Downs, all interest groups in Indiana are not in agreement at how the bill is structured.
The head of the New York Senate racing committee is pressing a new video lottery terminal plan that would give more money to racetracks and purses by giving back less in winnings to bettors.
New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey has announced the creation of a Video Lottery Study Commission that will investigate the feasibility of video lottery terminals at racetracks and give him written recommendations in 90 days.
One week after a spokesperson for New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey said a bill to legalize video lottery terminals at state racetracks was off the table, the issue apparently is back on.
Maryland Gov. Robert Ehrlich Jr. will propose 13,500 slot machines for three racetracks in time to generate $600 million in state tax revenue in two years, legislative sources told the Baltimore Sun.
In response to a statement by an official with Gov. Jim McGreevey's administration that a proposal to place video lottery terminals at Meadowlands "is very unlikely," the head of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority said other avenues will be explored in order to keep the state's racing industry viable.
West Virginia has joined Washington as states planning to consolidate government functions and make the racing commission part of a broader gambling commission.
Churchill Downs Inc. president Tom Meeker addressed the National Council of Legislators from Gaming States Jan. 11 with calls for regulatory consistency across jurisdictions and support for expanding racetrack gambling.
The owner of a long-shuttered New York racetrack slated to reopen to tap into the state's video lottery terminal program has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
The fate of Chester Downs and Marina, a Standardbred racetrack and entertainment center planned for southeast Pennsylvania, could be determined Jan. 9 when the Pennsylvania Harness Racing Commission meets to rule on the license application.
A Kentucky legislator plans to introduce a bill for racetrack-based gaming, but he said the state might have to look to casino gambling at locations other than tracks in the future.
The owner of Beulah Park in Grove City, Ohio, said he is surprised at the bid made for the purchase of neighboring Scioto Downs.
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