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.
A proposed tribal mega-casino less than seven miles from Golden Gate Fields spurred a massive lobbying effort from California's $4.5-billion horse racing industry the week of Aug. 23.
The Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission has finalized at five the number of applicants seeking the final Thoroughbred racing license in the state. Only four applicants hit an informal Aug. 16 deadline to apply for the last license, but Magna Entertainment Corp. has reiterated its interest in building a track near Pittsburgh International Airport.
Planners of a Thoroughbred racetrack near Erie are weighing two location options pending a Sept. 15 license amendment decision from the Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission.
The Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission will meet Aug. 24 to map out a timeline for approval of the state's final Thoroughbred racetrack license. But whoever gets the license isn't guaranteed a slot machine license, which has narrowed the field of applicants.
Delta Downs Racetrack & Casino reigned as Louisiana's top moneymaking racino in the first six months of 2004, according to figures from the Louisiana Gaming Control Board. Overall, the state's three racinos generated more than $19.8 million for purses in the first six months of this year.
The Fair Grounds and Louisiana horsemen reached a $25 million settlement over video poker purse revenue Aug. 7.
An attorney for the Fair Grounds said Louisiana horsemen were on the verge of a settlement Friday night that could spare the New Orleans track from an auction in bankruptcy court later this month over a $90 million video poker judgement.
Officially there is still life in legislation to introduce video lottery terminals to Michigan racetracks. But following an Aug. 4 vote in the state legislature, the breathing is shallow and the pulse is weak.
The Illinois legislature adjourned its "overtime" spring session without acting on a package of gaming reforms that could have brought slot machines to racetracks.
Hastings Park will be permitted to install 600 slot machines in the wake of a 6-5 vote by the Vancouver City Council July 22. Mayor Larry Campbell, who provided the deciding vote, said it was about saving jobs in the community.
Prairie Meadows' board of directors has unanimously passed a resolution that would change the makeup of its board in exchange for business support to oppose a Des Moines riverboat casino.
Prairie Meadows received permission July 15 to add table games, but now it must roll the dice on an even bigger issue.
It was a bad week for California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who found himself stumping for voter support for his overdue 2004-05 budget plan at Mary's Pizza Shack in rural Dixon, along Interstate 80 west of Sacramento.
Hope that passage of slot machine legislation in Pennsylvania would result in a new Thoroughbred racetrack near Pittsburgh seems futile. Negotiators with knowledge of the bill signed into law July 5 by Gov. Ed Rendell said a stand-alone slots parlor in downtown Pittsburgh is much more likely.
Not only will Saratoga Gaming and Raceway not close down its video lottery terminal parlor in August to accommodate the New York Racing Association, but there is talk of the NYRA neighbor adding another 700 VLTs, a state official said.
A New York appeals court July 7 said the revenue-sharing agreement for racetrack video lottery gambling is unconstitutional, a decision that raises new questions about a program that has stalled at the state's biggest tracks.
With Pennsylvania about to become a major gambling state given the approval of slot machines at racetracks and other locations, Maryland lawmakers are discussing a possible special session to revisit gaming legislation.
Legislation to authorize slot machines at Pennsylvania racetracks and other locations passed the state House of Representatives early the morning of July 4 and now heads to Gov. Ed Rendell for his signature.
Hit by relatively high revenue-sharing demands from the state and plans for even more gambling competition, New York's racetrack video gaming machine program has a murky future, Wall Street analysts and industry officials said.
A couple of years ago, there were suggestions a soon-to-be-built gaming parlor at Saratoga Raceway would close during the day in August when the Thoroughbreds came to down.
Monticello Raceway--now called Mighty M Gaming at Monticello Raceway--will become the fourth New York racetrack to operate video gaming machines when it turns on the devices the morning of June 30.
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger says he will "get rid of" a racing-sponsored initiative that could bring slot machines to tracks, but backers of the measure vowed to press their case with the voters.
Plagued by bad weather and short fields during the first month of its season, Arlington Park lost ground to racetracks in other states where purses are sweetened by slot machine revenue, Arlington president Cliff Goodrich told the Illinois Racing Board June 10.
Legislation to authorize gaming through the El Comandante Racetrack and Off-Track Betting Agency system in Puerto Rico has been approved by the government, said Equus Gaming Co., a partnership with Thoroughbred and entertainment interests in Latin America and the Caribbean.
The New York state Senate June 3 gave quick approval to a plan to overhaul the regulation of racing in the state, including a provision designed to get video lottery terminals installed this year at Aqueduct.
A California initiative that could result in five racetracks getting slot machines has qualified for the Nov. 2 general election ballot.
The Illinois Legislature missed its midnight May 31 adjournment deadline in a stalemate over the state's budget. The deadlock likely dooms efforts to expand gaming in the state, including slot machines or other revenue-producing plans for Illinois racetracks.
The Ohio House of Representatives, by a slim margin, has defeated a proposal to allow video lottery terminals at the state's seven racetracks.
Supporters of legislation to allow video lottery terminals at Ohio's seven racetracks hope to win approval to put the proposal on the November ballot before the legislative session ends for the summer.
Live racing at Charles Town Races & Slots will be suspended for about three weeks in August so workers can replace the racing surface, bank the turns, and install new lighting.
According to the results of a recent public opinion poll, most Texans would welcome video lottery terminals at the state's five horse and three Greyhound racetracks.
Fairmount Park in downstate Illinois marches on in hope of getting alternative gaming, while on the racing side, Shamrock Meadows Stables continues its roll.
Gov. Brad Henry signed a bill Wednesday to authorize a statewide vote Nov. 2 on whether to allow pari-mutuel horse racing tracks to operate electronic gambling machines now played only at Indian casinos.
Pennsylvania legislators reportedly have struck a tentative deal on slot machines in the state, but the proposal still has a long way to go.
As the most recent special session of the 78th Texas legislature came to a close, the fate of video lottery terminals appeared to be rather uncertain.
Maryland racing officials and politicians really didn't make any excuses during the May 13 Alibi Breakfast at Pimlico Race Course. Instead, they called on the racing industry to do everything it can to facilitate a turn of fortunes for horse racing in the state.
The chairman of the New York Racing Association is blasting state officials for throwing up what he says is another roadblock to opening a racino at Aqueduct racetrack.
Legislation to legalize video lottery terminals at Michigan racetracks took a tenuous, toddling step forward April 29 when the state Senate narrowly approved a racino bill after nearly a year of inaction. But much work remains.
Maryland officials who oppose expanded gambling met with lawmakers and activists in Pennsylvania April 28 in the hope of combating any push for racetrack slot machines or casinos.
Harrah's Louisiana Downs opened its new slot-machine casino April 30, with a grand opening tied to the start of live Thoroughbred racing May 14.
Ohio Gov. Bob Taft has again stated his opposition to installation of video lottery terminals at the state's seven racetracks. Meanwhile, a key legislator has suggested non-track casinos be located in urban areas.
Prairie Meadows could add table games and video poker this fall if Gov. Tom Vilsack signs a gambling bill approved by the Iowa legislature. The track's board of directors voted 12-0 April 21 to seek the games should the bill become law.
A proposal to allow Ohioans to vote on the issue of video lottery terminals at the state's seven racetracks will be introduced again in the legislature.
Backers of a California initiative that could bring slot machines to several racetracks and card clubs submitted more than a million signatures Friday to county election officials around the state to qualify the measure for voter consideration Nov. 2.
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