Ellis Park owner Ron Geary said June 24 it's too soon to say a commitment from the racing industry and legislators to fight for racetrack gaming will keep his track open beyond the 2009 season. Meanwhile, Turfway Park and the Kentucky Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association plan to sit down soon to devise a plan that could include reductions in purses and racing dates for future meets.
Republican Sen. Damon Thayer, under heavy fire from some in the Kentucky horse industry for not being publicly proactive on racetrack gaming legislation, on June 25 outlined his position on the issue and claimed that a "political war" would only hinder the industry.
About 1,000 members of Kentucky's horse industry turned out for a short-notice rally at Keeneland June 24 and were told by officials and state lawmakers the fight for racetrack gaming isn't over.
Having failed to get a law approved permitting racetrack casinos to offer electronic table games, New York Gov. David Paterson's Lottery Division is moving ahead with plans for the new gambling devices at the state's eight racetrack-based casinos. But a lawyer who has sued the state over past gambling expansions said the Paterson administration may be playing with legal fire.
The Kentucky horse industry, in the wake of the defeat of racetrack gaming legislation, is planning a rally at the Keeneland sale pavilion in Lexington at 6:30 p.m. EDT June 24.
A party-line vote in the Republican-heavy Senate Appropriations and Revenue Committee June 22 killed legislation to authorize video lottery terminals at racetracks in Kentucky.
As Ohio racetracks are busy working on a plan for racetrack gaming, horsemen's groups are lobbying the state legislature to get behind Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland's proposal for video lottery terminals at tracks.
After debate of nearly four hours June 19, the Kentucky House of Representatives approved a bill permitting video lottery terminals at racetracks. The vote was 52 in favor, 45 opposed with two abstentions.
Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, in search of money to balance the state budget, on June 19 proposed putting racetrack video lottery terminals into the budget bill.
The Indiana Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association said it was part of a discussion to assist racetracks by surrendering a portion of horsemen's revenue from slot machines but isn't a member of the coalition that issued a June 16 release to that effect.
Four horsemen's and breeders' organizations in Indiana said June 16 they will, over a three-year period, give racetracks a share of their revenue from slot machines to help stabilize the tracks.
Evangeline Downs Racetrack & Casino has announced a 10% purse increase for all overnight races effective June 13.
The Kentucky Equine Education Project is organizing a rally June 17 in the Capitol Rotunda to drum up support for legislation that would financially assist the horse industry.
Backstretch programs, racetrack gaming, and exclusionary practices are the primary topics for forums scheduled for the National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association summer convention June 30-July 3 in Shepherdstown, W.V.
On the eve of the release of racetrack gaming legislation on the call for a special session of the Kentucky General Assembly, the state's top lawmakers debated the merits of the plan and indicated it won't be a slam dunk.
Hialeah Park will be back in business "as soon as possible" with plans to eventually add Thoroughbred racing, officials of the Florida racetrack said June 8.
Once again, the Texas legislature concluded its biannual session without passing a bill to legalize video lottery terminal at the state's racetracks. But the potential for a task force on the racing industry offers some hope for assistance.
Democratic Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear announced June 4 that racetrack gaming would be included in the special legislative session that will focus on the state budget.
Though racetrack gaming wasn't put on the initial call for a June 15 special legislative session in Kentucky, the state's horse racing industry expressed confidence the issue will be on the agenda -- and pass.
Charles Town Races & Slots will offer purse incentives in certain races with seven or more starters effective June 6 in an effort to increase field size.
Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear said May 29 he will call a special legislative session to deal with "the largest budget shortfall in modern Kentucky history," but stopped short of saying he will put racetrack gaming on the agenda.
The Delaware Supreme Court said a proposed sports-betting lottery doesn't conflict with the state constitution.
Kentucky racetrack operators said May 20 the state's horseracing and breeding industries have reached a critical juncture, and without legislative assistance in the form of on-track gaming, the damage could be irreparable.
Hundreds of people who make their living in Ohio's horseracing and breeding industry rallied at the state capital May 19 to support a plan for video lottery terminals at the state's seven racetracks.
As Kentucky's equine industry awaits word on whether Gov. Steve Beshear will call a special legislative session that could have racetrack gaming on the agenda, representatives of the state's racetracks and horsemen's groups will hold a press conference May 20 to discuss the state of the horse business. Meanwhile, Ohio horseracing interests plan a statehouse rally May 19 to lobby for legislative relief.
Delaware expects to offer sports betting at its three racetracks this summer under a new law that also allows the tracks to offer table games such as blackjack, craps, poker, and roulette.
Presque Isle Downs & Casino near Erie, Pa., will begin its 100-night meet May 8 with more exposure for its signal.
A "benchmark report" on slot machines in Pennsylvania shows a 39.3% increase in purses paid at Thoroughbred and Standardbred racetracks from 2007 to 2008, but double-digit declines in total pari-mutuel handle during the same period.
A decision on whether to call a special legislative session -- one that could include alternative gaming and relief for the horse industry -- will be made in a few weeks, Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear said April 29.
A Maryland harness track that hasn't offered live racing in almost a year also lost its Thoroughbred simulcast rights April 28 when it was ordered by the Maryland Racing Commission to cease operations.
Calder Race Course begins its 39th season of Thoroughbred horse racing April 24 with a Thursday-through Sunday schedule.
Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear said he has been proactive in his support of expanded gambling to assist horse racing and breeding, and the "continued tough economy may further underscore that effort."
The state of New York should abandon efforts to find new bidders to develop a video lottery terminal casino at Aqueduct and instead tap the New York Racing Association to run the long-delayed facility, a leading state lawmaker believes.
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 head of Delaware's gambling industry group said Democratic Gov. Jack Markell's proposed budget would be devastating to the state's three racetracks, including Delaware Park.
More competition for Kentucky racing will come April 20 when Indiana Downs begins a 62-day meet featuring purse increases for most overnight races and an expanded stakes schedule worth more than $1 million.
Saying five of the state's seven racetracks will close without assistance from the legislature, the Ohio State Racing Commission March 19 released a draft plan for 14,000 video lottery terminals that would be located at tracks.
The Maryland Jockey Club March 17 officially unveiled a 2009 spring stakes schedule at Pimlico Race Course that's down about $1 million from last year and doesn't include the grade I Pimlico Special.
The economy continues to take its toll on racetracks, including those with alternative gaming. Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort in West Virginia said it will cut overnight purses 10% effective April 20.
Turfway Park has canceled its third consecutive Monday program because of a shortage of horses, officials said March 13.
Fort Erie Race Track & Slots in Ontario, Canada, will offer live Thoroughbred racing this year, and the local horsemen's group is asking for support from owners and trainers.
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.
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