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.
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.
The Broward County (Florida) Commission voted Tuesday to approve a plan allowing voters to decide whether to allow video lottery terminals at the county's four pari-mutuel facilities, although a number of details are still undetermined.
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 board of directors for the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders' and Owners' Association has formulated an ambitious legislative agenda that would bring live racing to Ocala and get video lottery terminals installed at the state's racetracks.
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.
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.
RaceTech, the company behind Instant Racing, expects to top the $100-million mark in total handle sometime this year. Instant Racing--basically pari-mutuel video lottery terminals--went online early in 2000 at Oaklawn Park and Southland Greyhound Park in Arkansas.
Just weeks before work is to begin on banking the turns of the racing surface at Charles Town Races & Slots, a new organization called "The Thoroughbred Club" claims a survey reveals support for expansion of the six-furlong track to seven furlongs.
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.
Monticello Raceway in New York's Catskill mountains resort region would become the home of a $500-million, Las Vegas-style casino under a deal announced by Gov. George Pataki and the Cayuga Indian tribe.
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 Puerto Rican government has granted approval for up to 6,000 video lottery terminals to be placed at El Comandante Racetrack in San Juan and its approximately 700 off-track betting outlets on the island.
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.
Batavia Downs, believed to be the nation's oldest nighttime Standardbred track, will not open for racing this summer because of dwindling revenue and an inability to get financing for its racino operation, track officials said.
New York Gov. George Pataki May 27 proposed a complete overhaul of racing laws in the state, a move that would block the New York Racing Association's bid to get its racetrack franchise extended this year, and provide incentives to get video lottery terminals in operation at Aqueduct.
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.
The New Jersey breeding program will benefit from a four-year agreement reached between New Jersey's Thoroughbred and Standardbred horsemen, as well as its casino industry, officials announced May 25 at a press luncheon at Monmouth Park to celebrate the May 29 opening of the 2004 racing season.
An investment group is taking ownership of Tioga Park, shuttered to racing in upstate New York since 1978, with plans to begin Standardbred racing next year in a facility that it hopes will also include a video lottery terminal casino.
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.
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.
The addition of video lottery terminals at Texas dog and horse tracks will be one of the items discussed when the Texas state legislature convenes for a special session beginning on April 20. The special session can last as long as 30 days and the governor can call as many sessions as he wants.
The Florida Thoroughbred Breeders' and Owners' Association, which believes the state's racing industry is at a crisis stage, has released an aggressive legislative agenda that takes aim at laws its says create an uneven playing field with other gambling entities. Still, it appears there isn't industry consensus on just how to proceed.
A member of the state Senate committee considering legislation that would allow video lottery terminals at Michigan racetracks predicted the week of March 22 that the bill would be voted out of committee and passed by the Senate this spring.
Legislation to authorize wagering hubs in Kentucky was introduced in the state Senate in early March and is moving through the legislative process as an amendment to a bill that would permit artificially inseminated horses to race in Kentucky. A hub measure was introduced in 2002 but it failed to garner support.