A key Illinois lawmaker has unveiled comprehensive gaming legislation that would authorize 3,200 slot machines for Illinois racetracks.
The Pennsylvania Horse Breeders Association has put its support behind legislation that would give horsemen 25% of gross revenue from racetrack slot machines. Meanwhile, a prominent Standardbred breeder told members of a Senate Finance Committee May 6 breeders won't receive enough revenue under splits contained in two slots bills that have been introduced.
Magna Entertainment Corp. has plans for new pari-mutuel wagering machines designed to make betting easier for first-timers, officials said May 1 during a press conference after the company's annual meeting.
A deal to bring video lottery terminals to New York racetracks with an increased slice of the pie for track operators includes other provisions, including removal of restrictions on pari-mutuel takeout. The VLT deal is expected to bring the state $165 million this year, legislative sources said.
A deal to entice New York racetracks to install video lottery terminals was close the evening of April 28, but officials acknowledged a side deal is being hammered out to bring VLTs to the state's off-track betting parlors.
Another legislative package that would bring video gaming to Michigan racetracks has been launched in the state House. And while circumstances point to this attempt as having the best chance yet of becoming law, lurking in the corner is the 600-pound gorilla of the Michigan gaming industry--the Detroit casino lobby--ready to quash any infringement upon its territory.
Instant Racing, a pari-mutuel video lottery game currently offered at racetracks in Arkansas, has been approved by the Oregon Racing Commission for use at the state's racetracks. Oregon is the second state to approve the devices.
A survey of Minnesota residents indicates 70% support a plan to open a racino at Canterbury Park as a means to raise revenue for the state budget.
The first of three hearings on slot machines at racetracks in Pennsylvania was held by the Senate Finance Committee April 22. The hearing was highlighted by comments from Sen. Robert Tomlinson, who said he would make some changes to the bill he introduced that has the support of racetrack operators in the state.
Delaware Park will kick off its more than six-month racing season April 26 with the $75,000 Legal Light Stakes, one of 30 major events on the stakes calendar. The highlight is the $750,000 Delaware Handicap, a grade II race set for July 20.
Racetrack slot machines ran into many roadblocks during the Maryland legislative session this year, but some lawmakers said the issue will come up again in 2004, and that it has a good chance to pass.
New York is poised to give a greater share of video lottery terminal revenue to racetracks and at the same time add more to education, New York Racing Association chairman Barry Schwartz said April 18.
The Bensalem, Pa., Township Council gave preliminary approval April 15 to Philadelphia Park for construction of a 149,000-square-foot temporary building that's expected to house 3,000 slot machines should legislation pass.
Legislation to legalize video lottery terminals at Massachusetts racetracks failed to pass the state House of Representatives April 15, but racing industry officials remain upbeat, according to published reports.
A Pennsylvania lawmaker April 15 introduced legislation that would give horsemen 25% of gross revenue from racetrack slot machines. The bill also includes provisions for health benefits and live-racing protection.
The Ohio Racing Commission has conditionally approved the sale of Scioto Downs, a Columbus Standardbred track, to MTR Gaming, owner of Mountaineer Race Track & Gaming Resort in West Virginia.
Though racetrack slot machines still haven't been approved by the Pennsylvania legislature, the Bensalem Township Council is scheduled to vote April 14 on Philadelphia Park's plans for a building to house the machines.
Racing and Las Vegas-style casino betting would go hand-in-hand under the latest high-stakes gambling hall proposal for the Catskills resort area of New York. Back for a second try, this time with a different Indian tribe as partners, Alpha Hospitality on Thursday filed an application with the federal government to build a $500 million casino adjacent to Monticello Raceway.
Officials in Texas said support for racetrack gaming continues to grow in state government and in communities with pari-mutuel facilities.
The Ohio House of Representatives April 9 passed a t wo-year budget that opens the door for a public vote on video lottery terminals at Ohio's seven racetracks.
A Quinnipiac University Poll released April 2 indicates support for the addition of video lottery terminals and/or slot machines at state racetracks, both as a tool for balancing the state budget and to help the state's struggling horse racing industry.
Top government officials have shot down reports New York City Off Track Betting Corp. may be in line to get video lottery terminals for its betting parlors.
Delays aside, Finger Lakes Racetrack plans to begin its 162-day season on April 18, though the track's owners and horsemen continue to have their focus on an elusive goal: video lottery terminals.
The issue of video lottery terminals at Ohio racetracks is again being discussed in the Ohio General Assembly. The latest proposal would put the question up for public vote later this year.
A proposal for racetrack slot machines is up for a vote in Maryland April 2, but a key legislator said the measure would fail.
A Louisiana Senate committee April 1 approved slot machines for Fair Grounds in New Orleans. The measure, which passed on a 4-2 vote, now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.
The Ohio Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners has issued a serious call to the state's racing and breeding industry as it pushes for alternative gaming: Nothing will be accomplished without a strong grass-roots campaign, and should gaming be approved, track operators must invest revenue to promote horse racing and revitalize aging facilities.
The New York Racing Association has narrowed the choice of companies to run its future VLT betting operation at Aqueduct to two major casino firms: MGM Mirage and Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts.
Though a commission was recently formed to study the feasibility of putting video lottery terminals at New Jersey racetracks, Gov. Jim McGreevey apparently has abandoned the idea of including VLT revenue in the state's 2004 budget.
Texas Sen. Ken Armbrister recently filed a bill to legalize video lottery terminals at the 10 licensed horse and dog racetracks in the state. The legislation apparently cames in response to pleas for alternative gaming at tracks from the Texas Horsemen's Partnership, the Texas Racing Agri-Industry Council, and the Texas Thoroughbred Association.
With video lottery terminals suddenly emerging as an item in state budget talks, the top Republican in the state Legislature said he cannot support a controversial video lottery terminal bill proposed by his fellow Republican, Gov. George Pataki.
Illinois harness horsemen have ended a 2 1/2-month entry-box boycott with a deal that makes new state-authorized funding for all Illinois racing interests even more vital.
Delaware legislators are considering legalized sports betting with a twist: It would benefit the horse racing industry in the state in the same way as gaming.
The Pennsylvania Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association is opposed to a racetrack gaming bill that would award 15% of gross revenue to purses and 1% to breed development. Meanwhile, an official at Philadelphia Park said he can't understand the horsemen's position.
A consolidation plan that would make the West Virginia Racing Commission part of a broader Gambling Commission is headed to "interim study," said a representative of one organization that has expressed concern over the proposal.
Legislation to authorize electronic games of skill at Arkansas racetracks has been introduced by state lawmakers.
The horsemen's group at Finger Lakes Racetrack in New York will back a new contract to ensure the track is running by its scheduled April 18 opening, the head of the organization said Feb. 28.
Purse accounts at Pennsylvania racetracks would earn 21.5% of gross revenue from track-based slot machines under legislation introduced Feb. 26 by Sen. Robert Tomlinson, whose district includes Philadelphia Park.
With legislation to authorize racetrack gaming apparently dead during the current legislative session in Kentucky, the racing industry is expected to begin another campaign well before the 2004 session begins.
Kentucky racetrack operators made their case Feb. 21 for the right to operate electronic gaming devices, but the House Appropriations and Revenue Committee postponed action on the legislation pending review of how the state's share of revenue would be spent.
Three pieces of legislation that would directly impact Indiana's horse racing industry are making their way through the General Assembly.
The Louisiana State Gaming Control Board gave its approval Feb. 18 for Harrah's Entertainment to operate slot machines at Louisiana Downs.
Legislation to authorize electronic gaming devices at Kentucky racetracks was introduced Feb. 18 with a new twist: The tracks have offered to pay hundreds of millions of dollars up front to help the state tackle its lingering budget crisis as long as they get exclusive rights to gaming in the marketplace.
With the 90-day session of the General Assembly at its midpoint, the effort to legalize slot machines at Maryland racetracks has bogged down. Gov. Robert Ehrlich Jr. has gone back to the drawing board with his proposal which had, incredibly, angered nearly everyone.
A Delaware legislator has introduced a bill that calls for expansion of video gaming to "qualified entertaiment zones" along the Delaware River. Currently, only three racetracks in the state--Delaware Park, Dover Downs, and Harrington Raceway--are permitted to have video lottery terminals.
The head of the New York Senate racing committee is pressing a new video lottery terminal plan that would give more money to racetracks and purses by giving back less in winnings to bettors.
New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey has announced the creation of a Video Lottery Study Commission that will investigate the feasibility of video lottery terminals at racetracks and give him written recommendations in 90 days.
- By Ray Paulick
By Ray Paulick -- The governors of New York and California may strike deals that will hurt the racing industry.
One week after a spokesperson for New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey said a bill to legalize video lottery terminals at state racetracks was off the table, the issue apparently is back on.
Maryland Gov. Robert Ehrlich Jr. will propose 13,500 slot machines for three racetracks in time to generate $600 million in state tax revenue in two years, legislative sources told the Baltimore Sun.
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