Legislation authorizing Instant Racing, a tax on advance deposit wagering, and a reduction in the pari-mutuel excise tax sailed through the Kentucky Senate Committee on State and Local Government March 11.
The chair of the Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission said March 10 racetrack casinos in the state are expected to demonstrate "concrete ways their commitment to live racing and breeding."
During the first full month of operation, slot machines at Calder Casino & Race Course placed third in pre-tax revenue among the five pari-mutuel casinos in southeast Florida.
The Maryland Jockey Club, as well as community groups, March 5 submitted 16,702 additional signatures to the Anne Arundel County Board of Elections in a push to have citizens of the county vote on a zoning permit for slots.
- By Jim Freer
The Florida legislature will begin its two-month regular session March 2, with House Speaker Larry Cretul leading an effort to pass a pari-mutuel bill.
Gov. Steve Beshear is urging Kentucky lawmakers to take another look at legalizing video lottery terminals to avoid cuts in the state's next budget.
After several meetings, two Michigan horsemen's groups have remained unsuccessful in convincing Dan Adkins of Hazel Park to amend the language of a petition concerning the approval of eight new casinos in the state.
With the exception of Oklahoma Derby day Oct. 10, Remington Park will eliminate Sunday racing from its fall Thoroughbred schedule, track officials said.
Democratic Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear called the state legislature's bluff Jan. 19 by presenting a two-year budget that relies on more than $700 million in revenue from gaming machines at racetracks.
The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation recently appointed Milton Champion director of the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering.
The Anne Arundel County Council Dec. 21 approved a zoning measure that will facilitate slot machines at the Arundel Mills Mall, but also OK'd a measure that allows slots at Laurel Park.
A new entity called Blow Horn Equity has submitted a bid for the Maryland Jockey Club assets, the company announced Dec. 18.
The Maryland Jockey Club said Dec. 17 it has appealed to the Maryland State Board of Contract Appeals over its disqualification from the bidding process for a license to operate slot machines at Laurel Park.
Though a state commission ruled its application for a gaming license incomplete, Laurel Park will continue its push for slot machines Dec. 17 by discussing its "advanced status" to construct a slots facility.
A Kentucky lawmaker has again requested an opinion from the state attorney general as to whether Instant Racing machines are legal under pari-mutuel statutes.
With the Illinois state budget in a shambles and a video gaming in bars and restaurants going nowhere as a solution, racetracks again are urging lawmakers to allow them to install slot machines.
Maryland horse racing needs improved marketing, quality facilities, and better racing, according to a report released Dec. 1 by the Maryland Horse Industry Board.
Ruidoso Downs in New Mexico has indicated it will stay put if it gets tax relief from the state, but if not it plans to move to Las Cruces, located about 85 miles southwest.
The first shipment of slot machines arrived at Calder Casino & Race Course in Florida Nov. 9 in anticipation of a January 2010 opening of the track's gaming floor.
The president of Churchill Downs Inc. said he believes recent developments with the makeup of the Kentucky General Assembly are positive and could help lead to legalization of video lottery terminals at racetracks in the state.
Indianapolis-based Centaur, which owns Hoosier Park Racing & Casino in Anderson, Ind., recently missed interest payments and has defaulted on loans in excess of $400 million.
A plan by Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort to offer the statutory minimum of 210 racing dates but race only eight months instead of year-round has met with opposition from horsemen and others in the community.
California Thoroughbred racetracks, subject to regulatory approval, could increase pari-mutuel takeout -- return less money to bettors -- and change how the revenue is distributed under legislation signed into law Oct. 23 by Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Churchill Downs and Kentucky horsemen have reached a three-year agreement that sets purse payments, establishes purse supplements and ends a legal dispute that began in the spring of 2008.
Kentucky's horse racing and breeding industry plans to stand its ground in the wake of a proposal for a constitutional amendment on gaming some have characterized as a politically-motivated stall tactic.
Calder Race Course is preparing marketing plans for poker and a casino president and general manager Tom O'Donnell expects will attract a significant number of customers from some nearby pari-mutuel facilities and tribal casinos in southeast Florida.
Penn National Gaming Inc. officials Oct. 21 advocated their proposal for casino gambling in Ohio's four largest cities -- an issue that will be decided via referendum Nov. 3.
A Kentucky Thoroughbred breeder said Republican lawmakers plan to push for a constitutional amendment on racetrack gaming, but a spokesperson for the state's Senate leader said that's not the case.
Another showdown is brewing over whether Michigan racetracks should be allowed to open casinos in an effort to revive their struggling businesses. A group called Racing to Save Michigan wants voters to decide the issue in November 2010, and on Oct. 14, the Michigan Board of State Canvassers unanimously approved the form of a petition the group plans to circulate within the next six weeks.
- By Tom LaMarra
If the horseracing industry fails to make voluntary changes it has resisted for decades, the only things that may save it from doom are involuntary changes brought on by forces in the gambling and entertainment marketplace, officials said Oct. 13.
Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell has signed into law a budget for Pennsylvania that reduces the share of revenue horse racing gets from slot machines by about 17% over four years.
Democratic Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland Sept. 30 put his plan for racetrack video lottery terminals on hold indefinitely in light of a recent state Supreme Court ruling and a need to balance the state budget.
Penn National Gaming Inc., believed to be facing an uphill battle in the bidding wars to develop a video lottery terminal casino at Aqueduct, has offered the cash-starved New York state government $250 million in a non-contingency, upfront payment for the exclusive contract and believes it's still in the hunt for the project.
Democratic Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland indicated Sept. 21 his administration is preparing to take the "next steps" in the wake of an Ohio Supreme Court ruling that says a statewide referendum is required before the state implements racetrack video lottery terminals.
Hoosier Park Racing & Casino has announced purse increase that has put purses about 20% higher than they were when its meet began July 30. Thus far, the Indiana track has paid about $30,000 more a day than Turfway Park in neighboring Kentucky.
Ellis Park, the western Kentucky racetrack that's on the fence for 2010, reported healthy gains in on-track business but a big drop in total handle after 20 days were cut from its 2009 meet.
United States Sen. George Voinovich used biblical verse Sept. 3 to blast gambling proponents, including Ohio Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland, who is an ordained minister. Voinovich spoke while announcing a new lawsuit challenging implementation of racetrack video lottery terminals in the state.
Florida Gov. Charlie Crist and the Seminole Tribe of Florida signed a gaming compact Aug. 31 that has some significant changes from a gaming law Crist and the Florida legislature approved earlier this year.
Hoosier Park Racing & Casino will raise purses 12% beginning Aug. 19, citing a "conservative approach" taken with the purse account when the meet began in late July.
With Ellis Park considering closing its doors, the Kentucky Equine Education Project is organizing a "Forever Ellis!" rally Aug. 22 at the racetrack as a way for horse industry enthusiasts to show their support for the nearly 90-year-old facility and the entire equine industry in the state.
MTR Gaming Group, which cut jobs and corporate expenses in the past year, released improved financial results for the second quarter of 2009 and said it's poised for growth in Ohio, where racetrack video lottery terminals have been authorized.
A reduction in stakes purses for its upcoming meet will allow Turfway Park to maintain overnight purses and racing days, but track officials are thinking ahead to 2010, when that probably won't be the case.
Penn National Gaming, Inc. said Aug. 6 it will request to hold a special December referendum for table games at Charles Town Races & Slots.
- By Tom Precious
Officials in New York recognize they will not be getting the upfront payment money for the Aqueduct casino franchise they had been expecting before the economy turned sour, according to the head of the Senate's racing committee.
All-sources handle at Calder Race Course rose 48%, from $131.4 million to $195 million, during this year's second quarter, according to parent company Churchill Downs in a report to the Securities and Exchange Commission. But Calder's handle for the quarter ended June 30 was 22% below its handle of $249 million for the second quarter of 2007.
- By Tom LaMarra
Wagering on racing in the United States continued its negative trend in July, with a 13.4% decline from the same month last year. Purses dropped 7.35%.
Speculation abounds in Ohio, where casino companies are examining racetracks for possible purchase and a deal on revenue from video lottery terminals for purses hasn't been hammered out.
After Michigan horsemen experienced a scare of losing half of their summer/fall meet at Pinnacle Race Course, negotiations were held among the Michigan Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, the Michigan Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, and the Office of the Racing Commissioner to shave less than 10 days from the schedule.
The governor of West Virginia, on hand for the Aug. 1 West Virginia Derby (gr. II) at Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort, said gaming at tracks was built around racing, and the sport won't be allowed to suffer in exchange for company profits.
- By Tom LaMarra
Penn National Gaming Inc. officials see upside to an expansion of gambling in Ohio, but said they have no idea how it will shake out.
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