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.
In response to a statement by an official with Gov. Jim McGreevey's administration that a proposal to place video lottery terminals at Meadowlands "is very unlikely," the head of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority said other avenues will be explored in order to keep the state's racing industry viable.
West Virginia has joined Washington as states planning to consolidate government functions and make the racing commission part of a broader gambling commission.
The owner of a long-shuttered New York racetrack slated to reopen to tap into the state's video lottery terminal program has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
A Kentucky legislator plans to introduce a bill for racetrack-based gaming, but he said the state might have to look to casino gambling at locations other than tracks in the future.
The owner of Beulah Park in Grove City, Ohio, said he is surprised at the bid made for the purchase of neighboring Scioto Downs.
With the sale of Calvin Klein, look for Barry Schwartz to spend far more time around his passion: horses.
Seeing a future in which purses are no longer golden, the Thoroughbred Owners of California will begin an uphill battle next year to bring slot machines to racetracks by 2005.
Legislation to authorize video lottery terminals at all pari-mutuel facilities in Florida was filed by Sen. Steven Geller, who said it could very well be changed in light of concerns over revenue splits.
An influential state senator says racetracks in New York should be given more of a split from the state's still dormant video lottery terminal program as a way to get the machines running and revenue flowing for New York's deficit-ridden budget.
Can racing and gaming be integrated in one facility? Apparently so, but the final product won't look the same from racetrack to racetrack.
Emergency legislation to authorize video slot machines at Ohio's seven racetracks is apparently dead in current session of the legislature.
Gov. Bob Taft has again warned the Ohio legislature that he would veto any bill allowing video slot machines at the state's seven commercial racetracks. Taft issued a terse written warning he would veto the bill that would bring in an estimated $500 million for primary and secondary education.
Legislation to authorize 14,000 video slot machines at Ohio's seven racetracks was introduced Nov. 19. The bill, which includes an emergency clause that requires a two-thirds vote by the Senate and House, was introduced by Sen. Louis Blessing, whose district includes River Downs.
A bill to authorize video slot machines at Ohio' racetracks will be introduced in the state legislature and not sent to the voters as a constitutional amendment, a top legislator said.
Though the results of the Nov. 5 elections have the potential to be positive for the racing industry in some states, a top casino executive warned against the "irrational exuberance" that could develop at a time when racetrack gaming must become destination gaming.
Elections in six states Nov. 5 may determine, or at least play a role, in the future of alternative gaming at racetracks.
A lawsuit seeking to block video lottery terminals at racetracks in New York "is ripe for review,'' a state judge has ruled in rejecting pleas by the state and racetracks to dismiss the legal action. Gambling foes say they may now seek an injunction to block any further development of the VLT program.
If horse racing is to gain ground, racing interests and state lawmakers must find a way to integrate pari-mutuel wagering with electronic gaming devices, said Dr. Richard Thalheimer, professor of equine administration at the University of Louisville.
In a move with implications for the state's racing industry, the federal government has given the go-ahead for a western New York Indian tribe to open three casinos, a decision that could pave the way for three other new casinos in New York's Catskill Mountains.
Slot machines at Delta Downs in Vinton, La., have generated almost $13 million in purse money in less than eight months this year, according to financial records released by the Louisiana State Gaming Control Board.
New York lottery officials have selected four firms to supply video lottery terminals at racetracks for a new gambling program, but so far, track officials aren't leaping at it because they insist it will lose money.
The push for alternative gaming at racetracks continues in New Jersey.
Canterbury Park has plans for a multi-purpose entertainment and gaming complex, but it hinges on legislative approval or adoption of a constitutional amendment.
The New York Racing Association, with its video lottery terminal program running behind schedule, is turning to outside casino operators to run its proposed Aqueduct VLT facility, and among those under consideration is Atlantic City casino mogul Donald Trump.
While legislation that would allow video gaming at Michigan racetracks awaits action in the state legislature, residents have voiced their opposition to the proliferation of casino-type gambling in a recent poll.
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