Bill White was re-elected to a second term as president of the Florida Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association March 24.
A strong push to decouple racing from gaming officially hit the wall with the end of this year's Florida legislative session March 11, but a horsemen's coalition said it fully expects the issue to come up again in 2017.
Major gambling bills tied to a $3 billion compact with the Seminole tribe were removed from a Florida Senate committee agenda March 1 and may not be addressed before the current legislative session ends.
Legislation that would allow most pari-mutuel operations to end live racing and become slot-machine casinos or card rooms with simulcast wagering easily cleared the Florida House Finance and Tax Committee Feb. 29.
A state group that studies the impact of tax changes in Florida offered a general assessment Feb. 26 that decoupling horse racing from gaming would have minimal effect on pari-mutuel revenue for state government.
The Florida Senate Regulated Industries Committee Feb. 17 passed two pieces of legislation, one authorizing a compact with the Seminole tribe and another that would allow decoupling at most racetracks in the state.
Florida horse racing and breeding interests made their case against decoupling Feb. 9 during a House Regulatory Affairs Committee meeting, but lawmakers voted to move the legislation forward.
In the wake of bills introduced in the Florida legislature, horsemen have reiterated their opposition to any measure that would permit pari-mutuel facilities to end live racing but maintain gaming operations.
Industry stakeholders will be among the speakers on the topic of decoupling when the Florida Thoroughbred Farm Managers holds its annual meeting Jan. 9 in Ocala.
Legislation governing racehorse medication policy unanimously passed the Florida Senate Regulated Industries Committee Feb. 18 and was reported favorably to the full Senate.
Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse stakeholders in Florida said they are united in backing the National Uniform Medication Program, but its fate lies with the state legislature.
The Florida Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse industries Feb. 3 renewed their request for the Florida legislature to clarify state laws on the definition of a horse race and released a study on breeding and racing's impact.
Hialeah Park has begun its fifth consecutive Quarter Horse racing season and is preparing for a year in which it might have its biggest chance yet to regain a Thoroughbred racing license.
The Florida Senate Committee on Gaming was told Sept. 23 it will review multiple scenarios prepared by a consultant in regard to the possible expansion of gambling in the state.
The Florida legislature ended its 2012 regular session the night of March 9 and did not pass a bill that would have authorized an annual Thoroughbred meet for Hialeah Park.
The Florida legislature began a two-month session Jan. 10 with a big part of its focus on a gaming bill that could lead to the first all-games casinos in the state along with other changes that would impact racing.
Two bills that would authorize three destination resorts with casinos, including roulette and other table games, in the southeast Florida counties of Miami-Dade and Broward were introduced in the state legislature Oct. 26.
Historic Hialeah Park won another court round in its effort to match casinos at Gulfstream Park and Calder Casino & Race Course.
The Florida legislature will end its 2011 regular session May 6, and it appears language authorizing a special Breeders' Cup permit for Hialeah Park will have to wait a year.
The Florida House and Senate by wide margins have passed similar bills that would allow Greyhound tracks to stop racing or choose to significantly reduce racing schedules beginning July 1, 2011.
A state court in Tallahassee, Fla., Nov. 22 ruled in favor of Hialeah Park on one count of a lawsuit that challenges its legal right to build a casino with Las Vegas-style slot machines.
Hialeah owner John Brunetti said he needs answers to questions before he starts making improvements--and spending more money--at the South Florida racetrack.
The Florida Legislature passed a bill with long-sought benefits for Thoroughbred racetracks, including tax breaks, more slot machines, and extended poker room hours. The governor is expected to sign the bill into law.
Hialeah Park is entering the final two weeks of its first Quarter Horse meet with pari-mutuel handle owner John Brunetti calls "a disappointment," and with a need to catch up on its guarantee of $4 million in purses.
Florida's Thoroughbred industry will enter 2010 without the expanded racing, other gaming, and tax breaks it thought it had gained during this year's session of the state legislature.
Calder Race Course is preparing marketing plans for poker and a casino president and general manager Tom O'Donnell expects will attract a significant number of customers from some nearby pari-mutuel facilities and tribal casinos in southeast Florida.
Florida Gov. Charlie Crist and the Seminole Tribe of Florida signed a gaming compact Aug. 31 that has some significant changes from a gaming law Crist and the Florida legislature approved earlier this year.
The Florida Legislature May 1 extended its annual regular session for seven days, with pending bills on Thoroughbred and other pari-mutuel issues and on Indian gaming among unfinished business.
Members of the Florida House of Representatives March 24 released a draft of a bill that would require the Seminole Tribe of Florida to remove blackjack and baccarat tables from its casinos. The proposal would permit the Seminoles to keep the Class III Las Vegas-style slot machines they began installing at their Florida casinos last summer.
The chairman of an important Florida Senate committee March 24 introduced a bill that would allow Gulfstream Park and Calder Race Course to have blackjack and baccarat, while permitting the Seminole Tribe of Florida to keep those two games and add roulette and crap tables at its casinos.
The Seminole Tribe of Florida is preparing for the June 22 launch of blackjack and baccarat at its Hollywood, Fla., casino located 10 miles from Gulfstream Park, one of the racetracks that filed suits to stop the Seminole gaming expansion.
As the Florida legislature prepares to end its annual session May 2, chances appear very slim that it will pass either of two slot machine bills being sought by the Thoroughbred industry.
The Florida Senate approved March 13 two slot-machine bills that would help the state's Thoroughbred racetracks and other pari-mutuel facilities. However, there is considerable opposition to the bills in the Florida House of Representatives, and the influential Seminole Tribe of Florida is expressing concerns about the legislation.
Two bills that would help Thoroughbred racetracks, the Ocala Breeders' Sales Co., and the state's other pari-mutuel facilities will be on the calendar when the Florida legislature begins its annual two-month session March 4.
The Florida House of Representatives asked the state Supreme Court Nov. 19 to prevent Gov. Charlie Crist from implementing a Class III slot-machine deal with the Seminole Tribe of Florida without the legislature's approval.
- By Scott Davis
The failure of the Florida legislature to create regulations for slot machines at pari-mutuel facilities in Broward County may force the issue into court.
The Florida House voted May 2 to limit Broward County pari-mutuel facilities to bingo-based gambling machines rather than traditional slot machines and to take 55% of the revenue in taxes. The Senate, meanwhile, wants regular slot machines and a much lower tax rate.
- By Scott Davis
Calder Race Course and Gulfstream Park are just eight miles away, both straddling the Miami-Dade/Broward County line in South Florida. But following the results of the March 8 municipal elections, the tracks may soon be entirely different.
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