Disagreement between the horse racing industry and a legislator has put casino legislation in Kentucky in a tenuous position for the current session.
A $50-million expansion of the Delta Downs Racetrack & Casino is well under way with completion expected by the end of 2004. The project includes a hotel and a bigger parlor for slot machines.
Instant Racing, which combines pari-mutuel wagering with video gaming technology, had its best month ever at Oaklawn Park when patrons poured $5.82 million through the machines in February.
Legislation to authorize a constitutional amendment on casino gambling at nine locations--five of them racetracks--in Kentucky was filed Feb. 27 in the state House of Representatives. A companion bill was filed in the Senate.
State regulators have denied a 2004 racing application for troubled Vernon Downs, a Standardbred racetrack in central New York. The Feb. 27 ruling by the New York State Racing and Wagering Board prohibits racing at the facility and keeps shuttered a recently completed video lottery terminal casino.
Prairie Meadows and two Greyhound tracks will be permitted to offer table games under Iowa legislation that bans new gaming licenses in counties where they aren't currently in place.
Thoroughbred racing could return to Birmingham Race Course in Alabama under a proposal set forth Wednesday by track magnate Milton McGregor.
Instant Racing, a pari-mutuel gaming system currently available at wagering outlets in Arkansas and Wyoming, will be expanded in those two states early this year.
Indiana's horse racing industry may have another opportunity to secure more financial stability. An amendment introduced and passed in the Senate Finance Committee Feb. 19 would increase the annual subsidy to the industry from $27 million to $44 million. It goes to the full Senate for consideration.
Patrons waited more than two hours to enter Finger Lakes Gaming & Racetrack Feb. 18 for the opening of the track's video lottery terminal parlor. The scene was reminiscent of one that played out a few weeks earlier when Saratoga Gaming and Raceway became New York's first operating racino.
Finger Lakes in upstate New York will open its video lottery terminal parlor Feb. 18 to become the second racino to begin operation in the past month under a 2001 state law.
New York state has no choice but to give the New York Racing Association an extension of its franchise if it wants to get video lottery terminals operating at Aqueduct, NYRA chairman Barry Schwartz said.
Officials representing the Kentucky horse industry agreed Wednesday to proposed alternative gaming legislation that would put casinos at four racetracks and four other non-racetrack facilities in the state.
The second of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority's Monmouth Park Stakeholders Committee meetings is scheduled for Feb. 11, and the topic is scheduled to be the lease of the racetrack. The NJSEA has said it's exploring the possibility of leasing Monmouth and Meadowlands.
Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, at a Jan. 27 news conference, said he was tired of the legislature's inability to pass a gambling bill and was fashioning his own bill to authorize slot machines at 12 locations in the state.
Just a month before he proposed a dramatic expansion of gambling with video lottery terminals across the state, New York Gov. George Pataki told a state appeals court the devices would be limited to racetracks under a 2001 law.
A bill that would allow electronic pull-tab machines at Indiana racetracks and two satellite wagering facilities crossed a second hurdle Jan. 21. The House Ways and Means committee approved the legislation by a 17-10 vote and sent it along for consideration by the full House.
Under a plan being considered by the New Jersey legislature, the governor's office, and the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, Thoroughbred and Standardbred purses could be supplemented by revenue from Atlantic City casinos, possibly this year.
Indian tribes, the horse racing industry, and Gov. Brad Henry have reached an agreement on legislation that would allow racetracks to install gaming machines and regulate devices currently operating at tribal casinos. The measure now goes to the state legislature.
New York Gov. George Pataki has proposed new competition for racetracks with a plan to have the state sell eight video lottery terminal franchises to hotels, off-track betting parlors, and other entities.
Track operators in New York are gearing up for a major lobbying battle against an effort to spread video lottery terminals beyond the state's horse racing industry.
Horsemen and management at Mountaineer Race Track & Gaming Resort continued contract negotiations Jan. 9 in the wake of a dispute that has halted simulcasting at the West Virginia track.
With the 2004 Kentucky General Assembly session set to get under way Jan. 6, the state's racing and breeding industry, which has devised legislation to authorize a constitutional amendment on racetrack casinos, is working to line up sponsors. Legislative leaders, however, continue to downplay the chances of passage of any bill to expand gambling.
The dispute between horsemen and management at Mountaineer Race Track & Gaming Resort escalated Jan. 5 when both parties accused the other of negotiating in bad faith.
Though the prospects for expanding gambling in Kentucky remain clouded, the racing and breeding industry has settled on a plan for a constitutional amendment to authorize full-scale casino gambling at the state's eight racetracks.
Licensing problems have delayed, for possibly well into 2004, the opening of Vernon Downs, which was to become the first racetrack in New York with video lottery terminals. That honor will now go to Saratoga Raceway, which is scheduled to open its VLT operation in mid-January.
The slot machines parlor at Evangeline Downs in Opelousas, La., opened Dec. 19 even though the facility won't offer live horse racing until 2005. The 2004 meet will be held at the existing Evangeline Downs in Carencro, about 10 miles south of the new site.
Fraser Downs, a British Columbia Standardbred track located not far from Hastings Park, received approval Dec. 16 to install slot machines. The Surrey City Council will schedule a fourth reading on the measure and approve final documents in a few weeks, the track said in a press release.
Mid-State Raceway key investor Shawn Scott and board chairman Hoolae Paoa, president and chief executive officer of the company's Vernon Downs, Miracle Isle Gaming Resort, and Miracle Isle video gaming facility subsidiaries, have appealed a decision by the New York State Racing and Wagering Board to deny their requests for permanent licenses.
Jean Major said he can't argue with the benefits of racetrack slot machines in Ontario, Canada. But he indicated there are two sides to every story, and suggested some procedures to ensure substantive growth in the horse racing industry.
New York media outlets have reported an indictment of the New York Racing Association on conspiracy, tax evasion, and fraud charges is expected, possibly as soon as Dec. 5. In an unusual deal, NYRA would be allowed to keep its franchise to operate Aqueduct, Belmont Park, and Saratoga, according to the reports.
A Kentucky legislator has pre-filed several bills for the 2004 General Assembly session, including one that would authorize electronic gaming devices at racetracks, and another that calls for a constitutional amendment on the subject.
Legislation to put the issue of racetrack video lottery terminals on the ballot in March 2004 has been killed in the Ohio General Assembly, a lobbyist said Dec. 2, the deadline to get the measure passed.
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.
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?
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.
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.
The Ohio Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association has told regulators state laws favor the Standardbred industry to the point where Thoroughbred racing is unfairly paying millions of dollars at a time when it badly needs the money.
An effort to win approval for racetrack video lottery terminals failed Nov. 4 in Colorado, but in Maine, voters gave their approval for racetrack VLTs.
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.
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.
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