With the Kentucky General Assembly seemingly headed for a special session this spring or summer to address a substantial revenue deficit, a legislative committee March 12 heard testimony on a bill that would authorize video lottery terminals at racetracks in the state.
In anticipation of a push by a consortium for casino gambling in Ohio's four largest cities, the Ohio State Racing Commission is formulating its own legislative proposal for video lottery terminals at the state's seven racetracks.
The New York Thoroughbred Breeders, disturbed by a delay in a plan for thousands of video lottery terminals at Aqueduct, called the situation "inexplicable" and said Gov. David Paterson should put the project on "war footing."
Representatives of two Kentucky Thoroughbred tracks said they will be forced to reduce racing dates due to declining economic conditions, with the owner of Ellis Park saying his track would not race in 2010 unless alternative gaming is legalized in the Bluegrass State.
The multi-year quest for a stable funding source for the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission took another turn March 10 when legislation to increase the powers of the KHRC unanimously passed a Senate committee. Whether the bill is approved--and whether the commission gets a new funding source--could be determined on the Senate floor.
Turfway Park is having a tough time making up for programs canceled because of the weather during the current winter/spring meet.
Magna Entertainment Corp. and partner Forest City Enterprises announced Feb. 26 the first 32 tenants for the retail portion of their The Village at Gulfstream Park development. Plans for the $1.2-billion complex, adjacent to Gulfstream's clubhouse/casino building, include a hotel and condominiums on the property in Hallandale Beach, Fla. Meanwhile, officials are reluctant to speculate on a possible bankruptcy filing by MEC.
Some Texas lawmakers are trying again to establish Las Vegas-style casinos in the state, and they say now is the time to do it because the state needs the money. Racetracks would be included, according to legislation unveiled Feb. 24.
In their first 11 months of operation, slot machines at Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course produced more than $22.6 million for Thoroughbred purses and breed development. The funds have allowed Penn National to offer a minimum purse that will be higher than that paid by some of its competitors.
The chairman of the Kentucky Equine Education Project said Feb. 18 he expects gaming-related legislation benefitting the Kentucky horse industry to pass -- but he's not sure when.
A Penn National Gaming Inc. official said the company doesn't plan to ask voters this year to approve table games at Charles Town Races & Slots in West Virginia.
More than 100 people who make their living in the Kentucky horse industry made their case to three Northern Kentucky legislators Feb. 16, and the message was clear: The economics must change or the state will lose a valuable asset.
Revised legislation to authorize video lottery terminals at Kentucky racetracks unanimously passed out of a House of Representatives committee Feb. 12, but its sponsor is unsure the measure will be voted on by the full House during the current General Assembly session.
The company selected to operate video lottery terminals at Aqueduct said there are a host of unresolved issues, including restructuring its financing deal, before it can close on a final agreement with the state of New York to begin construction on the long-delayed facility.
After absorbing a $378.6-million loss in 2008's fourth quarter alone, Penn National Gaming Inc. posted an annual loss of $153.3 million for the year, and said while it isn't "enthused" about developing a potential new slots facility in Maryland, it will pursue those plans.
Magna Entertainment Corp. said Feb. 4 it has arranged to pay a $28.5-million licensing fee for slot machines -- but the money will be placed in an escrow account at a Maryland bank.
In a jaw-dropping revision, Maryland received requests for far fewer slot machines in five license proposals than previously thought, and two of the six bidders -- including Laurel Park owner Magna Entertainment Corp. -- failed to pay $22.5 million in required up-front fees, a state official said Feb. 3.
Massachusetts Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo said Feb. 2 House lawmakers could vote on legislation to expand gambling before the end of the year -- the surest signal yet that casinos or slot machines may be coming to the state.
The $1-million Delaware Handicap (gr. II) will be the highlight of a scaled-back $3.175-million stakes program at Delaware Park in 2009, the track announced Jan. 29.
Horsemen from all parts of Colorado rallied at the state capitol Jan. 20 to support efforts by the horse industry to pass legislation designed to revitalize the economics of the industry in Colorado through advance deposit wagering and Instant Racing.
Legislation to authorize video lottery terminals at Kentucky racetracks will be amended in several key areas, one of which is a substantial increase in the licensing fee racetracks would pay for VLT licenses.
The Kentucky Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association is circulating a petition asking the General Assembly to support legislation to authorize video lottery terminals at racetracks in the state.
Jack Sours has been named president and general manager of Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort, MTR Gaming president and chief executive officer Bob Griffin announced Jan. 13.
Charles Town Races & Slots has announced a 2009 open stakes schedule with a record $2.7 million available in purses. The 12 scheduled stakes will take place on three special event days, beginning April 18 with Charles Town Classic Day.
When the Texas legislature convenes Jan. 13, a bill to legalize alternative gaming at the state's racetracks is ready to be filed. The Texas racing industry has angled for video lottery terminals for the past decade, but in 2009, business will not be as usual.
Democratic Kentucky Rep. Greg Stumbo plans to file legislation to authorize Kentucky Lottery Corp.-operated video lottery terminals at the state's racetracks.
Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich Dec. 15 signed legislation that extends the diversion to horse racing of 3% of revenue from the state's four highest-grossing riverboat casinos.
Kentucky horse racing and breeding industries are losing ground to other states, and if immediate action is not taken to stem the tide, the state could find itself in jeopardy of losing one of its signature industries, according to a 70-plus-page document released Dec. 15 by the Governor's Task Force on the Future of Horse Racing.
As hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue from slot machines flows to horse racing, there is growing sentiment that perhaps the racing industry is failing to capitalize on the new wealth by solely pumping money into purses and breed development programs.
The rejuvenated New York Racing Association has big plans for its new 25-year franchise, but president and chief executive officer Charles Hayward said Dec. 9 the organization has to plan wisely should revenue sources dry up.
An Ohio lawmaker whose district includes River Downs said Nov. 26 he plans to introduce legislation in 2009 for casino-style gaming that would support the horse racing and breeding in the state.
A study released by Ohio State Racing Commission offers a short-term action plan and a long-term strategy for the struggling horseracing industry in the Buckeye State, but one racetrack official said the quickest fix lies with the pen of Gov. Ted Strickland.
With revenue from slot machines probably a few years away, Thoroughbred racing in Maryland will continue in no-frills mode for the immediate future.
Two New Jersey lawmakers have taken a bipartisan approach in urging the governor to quickly form a committee to examine the state and future of the horse racing and breeding industry.
An ugly dispute over purse supplements for a New Jersey harness track could have long-term ramifications as officials devise a plan for the future of horse racing in the Garden State, and it also sheds light on the complications that can arise when racing and gaming are linked.
Legislation that would require racetracks to submit detailed daily reports on pari-mutuel handle and attendance, and various parties to submit racehorse injury reports, has been pre-filed for the 2009 session of the Kentucky General Assembly.
Maryland voters approved legalizing slot machines Tuesday in a constitutional amendment, paving the way for up to 15,000 machines in five locations and ending years of debate between lawmakers who never managed to pass the measure on their own.
Ohio voters Nov. 4 rejected a proposed $600-million casino -- the fourth time plans for expanded gambling in the state have been turned down since 1990.
Hoosier Park Racing & Casino and Indiana Downs have submitted requests for 2009 schedules that could significantly impact surrounding states.
Just days before Ohioans vote on whether to authorize a constitutional amendment allowing for a casino in southwestern Ohio, the state Department of Agriculture announced an 11-member Equine Industry Advisory Task Force charged with promoting and strengthening the state's horse industry.
The Governor's Task Force on Racing in Kentucky is close to preparing and releasing a report pinpointing problems and offering recommendations that ultimately will require a lot of money -- something in short supply given an ongoing budget crunch.
New York Gov. David Paterson selected Delaware North to run a new, sprawling video lottery terminal casino at Aqueduct, sources at the state capital said Oct. 10. But the Senate balked at his choice.
The Maryland Jockey Club said it is "aggressively supporting" a campaign to win approval via a Nov. 4 statewide referendum for slot machines at five locations in the state.
The nation's financial crisis has stepped up efforts to prod state government in New York to select an operator for the long-stalled video lottery terminal casino at Aqueduct, and launched a renewed effort to bring VLTs to Belmont Park.
This year's International Simulcast Conference opened Sept. 29 with some advice to the horseracing industry: Embrace the "whales" and computer-assisted wagering, and close some tracks to help improve the product at those that remain.
A new stakes worth up to $1 million will be offered next year at Charles Town Races & Slots in West Virginia.
The Supreme Court of Florida Sept. 11 denied a request by the Seminole Tribe of Florida and Gov. Charlie Crist for a re-hearing on its July 3 ruling that blackjack and baccarat are illegal at the tribe's Hollywood, Fla., casino.
Reports that Churchill Downs Inc. and the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders' and Owners' Association are stalled in talks on a Calder Race Course slot machine contract are leading to concerns about possible cancellation of two contracts between CDI and the Florida Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association.
Rick Moore, general manager at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino, is leaving the Indiana track after 14 years, officials announced Aug. 29, opening day of the Thoroughbred meet. His last day will be Sept. 12.
Evangeline Downs Racetrack & Casino, which opened in the spring of 2004, is scheduled to offer its first turf race Sept. 1.
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