Operators of racetracks with gaming devices continue to look for ways to drive pari-mutuel handle, but they admit converting slots players to handicappers is a long-term challenge.
Voters in Romulus, Mich., will decide Dec. 2 whether to allow for gambling establishments, one of which is a multi-breed racetrack proposed by Magna Entertainment Corp.
Legislators continue to work on a compromise on racetrack video lottery terminals as a deadline nears to get the measure on the March 2, 2004 ballot in Ohio.
Major privately-owned California racetracks and card clubs have thrown down the gauntlet in their bid to potentially break Indian tribes' monopoly over operation of slot machines in the state.
Slot-seeking California racetracks could benefit by a proposed state constitutional amendment aimed at pressuring Indian tribes to part with up to 25% of their casino profits.
A group of Vernon Downs shareholders filed a lawsuit Nov. 20 seeking to gain control of the upstate New York Standardbred track from Las Vegas investor Shawn Scott.
A study that examines the impact of racinos on the racing product will be presented Dec. 9 at the second Racing & Gaming Summit in Tucson, Ariz., the day before the University of Arizona Symposium on Racing begins.
As West Virginia racinos consider a push for casino-style table games, questions loom. Would revenue from the games go to purses, and if so, how much?
MTR Gaming Group Inc., which has been granted a state license to build a horse racing track in Pennsylvania, has plans to build a temporary slot machine parlor where customers can gamble during the two years it will take to build the track.
A compromise proposal to put the issue of racetrack video lottery terminals before voters has been offered in the Ohio Senate, though it must pass the General Assembly by Dec. 3 if it is to make the ballot.
Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell isn't against having slot machines at locations other than racetracks, but he said if that's the case, it's imperative the tracks and the horse racing industry be protected.
The signs point to progress in Kentucky in terms of a bid for racetrack gaming in 2004, while in Pennsylvania, the horse industry is slowing the prospects for passage of legislation, officials said Nov. 11 during a panel discussion at Racino 2003 at Mountaineer Race Track & Gaming Resort.
By Tom Molloy -- With VLT revenue resulting in even higher purses, it would seem to strengthen a case for an open dialogue to discuss a re-negotiation of fees with an emphasis on formally directing a fair portion to the grooms, hotwalkers, and others.
The Thoroughbred industry will have to face the music and change its tune in the next few years if it is to flourish, trainer John Ward suggested during a lively discussion the evening of Nov. 4 at the monthly Kentucky Thoroughbred Farm Managers' Club meeting.
Video lottery terminals would be permitted at off-track betting facilities in New York under a plan being considered by state budget negotiators. The idea is being promoted to deal with another huge, multibillion-dollar budget looming over the next two years and a failure by racetracks to get VLTs up and running quickly enough to send revenue-sharing money to the state.
High-ranking New Jersey politicians and members of the horse racing industry will meet Nov. 12 in Trenton to discuss issues vital to the health of the racing and breeding industry, including the uncertain future of Monmouth Park and Meadowlands.
Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, whose 2002 campaign platform included an endorsement for racetrack gaming, will issue a "major policy speech" Nov. 12 at the closing session of Racino 2003 at Mountaineer Race Track & Gaming Resort in West Virginia.
Delta Downs near Vinton, La. Won approval to enlarge its slot-machine parlor to an overall size of more than 40,000 square feet.
Pennsylvania Sen. Robert "Tommy" Tomlinson, whose district includes Philadelphia Park in Bensalem, is planning to reintroduce a slot-machine bill as early as the week of Oct. 20, according to a report in the Bucks County Courier Times.
The Ohio Senate on Oct. 15 took a major step in approving video lottery terminals for the state's seven racetracks. The Senate, by 24-9 vote, approved a bill that would put the issue of VLTs before the public in the March 2, 2004 primary.
Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm said a proposal to authorize video lottery terminals at racetracks is one possible way to help balance the state's budget.
Magna Entertainment Corp., which recently said it would rebuild Pimlico Race Course, said the project now hinges on whether the state's racetracks are approved for slot machines.
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has declared voters must approve an amendment to the state constitution before any of the 10 licensed horse or Greyhound tracks in Texas can install video lottery terminals.
The euphoria after the Keeneland September yearling sale posted gains of almost 30% in gross and average apparently hasn't carried over to the Standardbred business. Numbers for the recent Tattersalls select yearling sale at The Red Mile in Lexington actually were fairly strong, but industry leaders indicated the storm clouds haven't blown away.
Racing leaders in Indiana and one of the state's top politicians are teaming up to try and bring up to 10,000 slot machines to the state's racetracks and off-track betting facilities.
A Louisiana legislator said he and his partners received no income or preferential treatment through a deal in which Fair Grounds owners Bryan and Vickie Krantz paid their costs in connection with ownership of two Thoroughbred racehorses, the Times-Picayune reported.
New York state comptroller Alan Hevesi, who believes the New York Racing Association is unwilling to reform operations, has called for the creation of an independent inspector general to monitor NYRA.
The Illinois Racing Board has approved a compromise 2004 Chicago-area Thoroughbred season that has Arlington Park giving up a week of live racing in return for "host track" revenue from early-season simulcasting. But serious questions remain about purse levels for 2004 because the state legislature during its spring session backed away from approving slot machines at racetracks.
As the New York Racing Association sits on the video lottery terminal sidelines, others in New York are racing ahead with efforts to get the devices up and running, possibly by the end of the year.
Slot machines at Fair Grounds would generate $2 million to $3 million a year to supplement purses, according to figures released by state officials in Louisiana.
With a push for a constitutional amendment on expanded gambling looming in 2004, former Kentucky governor Brereton Jones said he would help fashion legislation to authorize full-scale casino gambling at racetracks.
Slot machines at Louisiana Downs in Bossier City, La., appear to have impacted five riverboat casinos in the Shreveport/Bossier City market, according to July revenue reports filed with the Louisiana Gaming Control Board.
Bill Casner, co-owner of WinStar Farm near Versailles, Ky., called for support of video lottery terminals in Kentucky and the Thoroughbred Championship Tour while accepting the 2003 Industry Service Award at the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders' Association's National Awards Dinner.
Ground was broken Aug. 13 on the "Miracle Isle" gaming facility at Vernon Downs, which intends to become the first New York racetrack to have video lottery terminals in operation.
Kentucky Derby-winning trainer John Ward has called some of the recent attacks on the embattled New York Racing Association "essentially a political assassination campaign" linked to development of video lottery terminals at racetracks in the state.
Slot machine exclusivity at New York racetracks may be short-lived, two legislators from the Empire State said on Tuesday during an afternoon session of the Saratoga Institute on Racing and Wagering Law.
The Vancouver city council has lifted its ban on slots, which means, if things progress as expected, Hastings Park racetrack could install as many as 900 slot machines by this time next year.
California Indians will fight any effort to expand gaming at state racetracks, said the executive director of the association that oversees tribal casinos.
Boyd Gaming announced plans July 30 for a $50-million expansion at Delta Downs in Vinton, La. In a conference call on Boyd's second-quarter earnings, the company said Delta Downs, which has slot machines, has become of its "best performers."
The Republican-controlled Pennsylvania Senate returned to a brief session July 28 but didn't consider racetrack slots legislation. It previously had buried a bill passed by the House, and it had predicted it would be after Labor Day before it considers the topic again.
Thoroughbred Owners of California president John Van de Kamp admitted California could lose its position as a major racing state in the future without additional revenue streams, including expanding gaming at California's racetracks.
Representatives from Hastings Park will find out July 24 if slot machines will be allowed in the city of Vancouver.
The Equine Health Studies Program (EHSP) at the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine (SVM) will receive funds from tax revenue generated from slot machines placed in racetracks throughout the state, part of a bill recently passed in the Louisiana Legislature.
The Pennsylvania House of Representatives has proposed that racetrack slot machines produce $1 billion in revenue, way up from the $400 million projected for this fiscal year in legislation approved by the state Senate.
The Pennsylvania Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association has submitted an application for a license for a Thoroughbred racetrack that would be built in the Lehigh Valley. If approved, daily purses would eventually average $1 million a day under a plan whereby all profits from slot machines would go back to horsemen.
The Pennsylvania Senate, on a 27-22 vote the evening of June 25, approved legislation to authorize racetrack slot machines. Now, the measure goes to the House of Representatives.
The issue of video lottery terminals at Ohio's racetracks died in the state Senate June 25.
The Pennsylvania Senate could vote today, June 25, on legislation to allow slot machines at racetracks. The plan needs 26 votes to pass, and if it does, it will be sent to the House of Representatives.
The issue of video lottery terminals at Ohio racetracks still has a chance for passage in the state Senate, though it may be a longshot.
Alternative gaming at Kentucky racetracks must be tied to a constitutional amendment, and the public must have a say in how the state's share of the revenue is spent, the former governor of Kentucky said June 22 during a panel discussion at the Thoroughbred International Exposition & Conference in Lexington.
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