Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, after long opposition, has opened the door to the expansion of gaming. But his education-funding proposal doesn't specifically include the new casinos and support for racetracks that would make it politically viable in the state House and Senate.
Plans for a racino at Canterbury Park continued to progress through the Minnesota legislature when the House Committee on Regulated Industries approved a bill March 29 and sent it to the House Committee on Taxes.
The Republican-led Senate and Democratic-run Assembly in New York have introduced legislation to sweeten the pot for racetracks with video lottery terminals, though the measure restricts the amount of extra money that would go to Aqueduct and Yonkers Raceway compared to other tracks.
With handle in January down about 9% from the same period in 2004, Philadelphia Park said its year-to-date purse overpayment has reached $1.9 million because of a commitment to boost purses while it waits to install slot machines. Meanwhile, the Pennsylvania Horse Breeders Association finished 2004 in the black, but not without some adjustments.
West Virginia's four racetracks moved a stepped closer to becoming full-scale casinos March 28 when the state Senate approved legislation to legalize table games at the facilities.
As the Evangeline Downs Racetrack & Casino prepares for its first Thoroughbred meet at its new facility, the track reported positive numbers for a 20-night Quarter Horse meet that concluded March 27.
Lawmakers in New York have agreed to repair a state law that has kept Aqueduct and Yonkers Raceway from opening their video lottery terminal casinos in a deal that will bring the state up to $1 billion in revenue each year.
Gambling interests have agreed to poll Ohio voters on the issues of casinos and video lottery terminals at racetracks in the state. The decision came during a March 24 meeting loosely dubbed the Ohio Gaming Summit.
Legislation endorsed by the West Virginia Senate Judiciary Committee would allow casino-style table games at the four racetracks in the state, but the panel also doubled the state tax on the games from 12% to 24%.
Officials in New Orleans are studying whether slot machines at Fair Grounds would conflict with a restriction in the city charter that limits gambling to a downtown casino.
Seeking to prod along negotiations, the New York Senate approved two bills March 17 designed to open long-stalled video lottery terminal casinos at Aqueduct and Yonkers Raceway, believed to be New York's most lucrative racetracks for gaming.
Churchill Downs Inc. officials discussed the company's financial picture, alternative gaming initiatives, and the industry's tote system during a March 17 teleconference but shed little light on their intentions for Hollywood Park, the Southern California racetrack that is the subject of sale rumors.
Delta Downs Racetrack & Casino recently unveiled its 10-story hotel as part of the finishing touches of a $60-million expansion project. Another project at the Vinton, La., racetrack--conversion of the racing surface to one mile and addition of a turf course--remains on the drawing board but faces some challenges.
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.
Canterbury Park has unveiled a legislative proposal to support a $120-million racino development at its 380-acre site in Shakopee, Minn.
A meeting of Ohio gambling interests, including representatives of the state's seven racetracks, is scheduled for March 24 in Columbus.
The Pojoaque Pueblo tribe has filed an application with the New Mexico Racing Commission to reopen The Downs at Santa Fe, which would become the sixth racetrack in the state. The tribe wants to begin live racing in 2007 and also hopes to install slot machines.
Voters in Broward and Miami-Dade counties in South Florida will decide today whether to allow slot machines at seven pari-mutuel facilities in the two counties.
The Maryland House of Delegates has rejected a series of amendments offered by gambling opponents, setting the stage for a final vote Feb. 25 on a bill to legalize 9,500 slot machines at four locations in the state.
The Kentucky Equine Education Project's position on racetrack gaming will hinge on whether its board of directors believes such a pursuit is in the best interest of Kentucky residents, a KEEP official said Feb. 5 during a meeting with members of the media at Turfway Park.
The Maryland racing industry has signed off on a plan to revitalize the sport should legislators approve alternative gaming. Though efforts to win approval for racetrack slot machines have stalled in recent years, a key legislator said the plan represents progress.
Gaming at Oklahoma racetracks is closer to reality, Oklahoma Horse Racing Commission officials said Jan. 27 during their monthly meeting. Rules that would govern alternative gaming will be formulated in a month, they said.
Two proposals calling for pull-tab machines at Hoosier Park and Indiana Downs received their first hearing Jan. 26, but after three hours of debate in the House Public Policy and Veterans Affairs Committee, one thing was clear: Legislation to authorize the machines could meet an early fate.
Representatives of horsemen's groups are working in the West Virginia capital of Charleston to fend off an effort by Gov. Joe Manchin to take $5 million from purse accounts at each of the state's four racetracks to help pay off a $3-billion debt in the state workers' compensation program.
Miami-Dade County (Florida) voters, like their counterparts in Broward County, will decide March 8 whether to permit slot machines at pari-mutuel facilities.
A proposal to finance a new stadium for the Indianapolis Colts by utilizing expanded gaming in downtown Indianapolis appears to be dead.
Slot machines at the new Evangeline Downs in Opelousas, La., pulled in nearly $72 million in gross revenue and generated more than $12 million for purses and breed development in their first year of operation, according to statistics from the Louisiana Gaming Control Board.
Total Thoroughbred purses increased 3.42%--mostly from a limited number of sources--in 2004, while total handle on Thoroughbred races run in the United States declined less than 1%, according to a year-end "Thoroughbred Racing Economic Indicators" report released Jan. 12.
The Maryland Racing Commission has unanimously approved the sale of Rosecroft Raceway to Georgia K. Angelos, wife of Peter Angelos, majority owner of the Baltimore Orioles and a Thoroughbred owner and breeder.
As Maryland lawmakers prepare for their 2005 legislative session, a new poll released Jan. 10 shows that Marylanders' support for slot machines has reached a new high.
The Kentucky Equine Education Project officially approved plans for a marketing and education blitz for the Bluegrass state this year, and also hired a high-powered lobbying firm to help it achieve its legislative goals.
The Kentucky Equine Education Project has fashioned a short list of legislative initiatives that includes tax breaks and a breed development program but not racetrack gaming--at least not yet.
Michigan Racing Commissioner Robert Geake said he would leave his post when his term expires at the end of December, and that he hopes to make the long-awaited decision on granting a suburban Detroit racetrack license before he goes.
The family of Baltimore Orioles majority owner Peter Angelos signed an agreement Nov. 20 to buy Rosecroft Raceway, a struggling harness track in southern Maryland just outside of Washington, D.C. The deal, if approved by the Maryland Racing Commission, would likely enhance the chances of slot machines being authorized in the state.
A supporter of video lottery terminals at Ohio's seven racetracks said Nov. 8 there is an "excellent chance" the proposal would go before Ohio voters in a November 2005 referendum.
With vote totals changing minute by minute Nov. 4, a constitutional amendment that would allow voters in Broward and Miami-Dade counties in Florida to vote on racetrack slot machines headed into the win column.
Voters in Washington state rejected an initiative that would have allowed the expansion of electronic slot machines--only permitted in tribal casinos--to other locations, including Emerald Downs. But a top track official said it's the best thing that could have happened.
California voters stomped a statewide racetrack/card parlor slot machine initiative Nov. 2, with the complicated measure garnering support of less than 20%.
Horsemen in South Florida remain hopeful voters statewide will approve a ballot measure Nov. 2 that will allow a referendum on racetrack slot machines in Broward and Miami-Dade counties sometime next year.
Not content to just offer a $1-million race, Delta Downs Racetrack & Casino is looking for ways to promote the stakes and its wagering business both on and off track.
A third-quarter increase in purses despite a decrease in pari-mutuel handle is attributed to growth in alternative gaming, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association said.
The Ohio State Racing Commission has opened its own investigation into a state Department of Public Safety report that video gambling machines were operating in a bar on property that includes the Cedar Downs off-track betting parlor in the northwest portion of the state.
The Downs at Pocono, a Standardbred facility that held Thoroughbred meets in the 1970s, could become the first Pennsylvania racetrack owned by an Indian tribe should regulators approve a $280-million deal between Penn National Gaming Inc. and the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority.
With a month left before the Nov. 2 election, proponents of a California initiative that could have authorized slot machines for racetracks and card parlors are folding their hand.
by Steve Moody - While the gap between Indiana racing and Kentucky racing is still distinct when you're talking about Keeneland and Churchill Downs, the gap has narrowed significantly with respect to Turfway and Ellis Park.
The decision on where an Erie racetrack will be located is being pushed back because of engineering and legal issues.
As one last-gasp effort to legalize slot machines in Maryland this year failed because of political warfare, horsemen and breeders in the state have begun what many said was inevitable as long as slots remained forbidden: the exodus of horses, horsemen, and horse farms.
The Kentucky Equine Education Project, which is yet to devise a legislative agenda, will let its still-evolving board of directors decide whether alternative gaming will be on its wish list, a representative said Sept. 8 during a meeting of the state Interim Joint Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources.
Evangeline Downs reported a gain in total handle but expected decreases in on-track business given the fact live racing and its slot-machine operation weren't located at the same site during its 2004 meet that ended Sept. 6.
Purses for July at Philadelphia Park averaged just under $120,000 a day, but in a year, they will be almost twice that amount, with much more growth expected when revenue from slot machines begins pouring in.
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