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.
A couple of years ago, there were suggestions a soon-to-be-built gaming parlor at Saratoga Raceway would close during the day in August when the Thoroughbreds came to down.
Monticello Raceway--now called Mighty M Gaming at Monticello Raceway--will become the fourth New York racetrack to operate video gaming machines when it turns on the devices the morning of June 30.
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.
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.
The Ohio House of Representatives, by a slim margin, has defeated a proposal to allow video lottery terminals at the state's seven racetracks.
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.
According to the results of a recent public opinion poll, most Texans would welcome video lottery terminals at the state's five horse and three Greyhound racetracks.
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.
As the most recent special session of the 78th Texas legislature came to a close, the fate of video lottery terminals appeared to be rather uncertain.
Unless the Senate revives interest in the concept soon, it appears the Texas legislature will not legalize video lottery terminals at the state's five horse tracks and three Greyhound tracks.
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.
A proposal to allow Ohioans to vote on the issue of video lottery terminals at the state's seven racetracks will be introduced again in the legislature.
Texas racing officials received a boost to their spirits after Gov. Rick Perry announced he would support the installation of video lottery terminals at racetracks in the state.
New Jersey's casinos are near a deal that would boost purses at the state's three racetracks in exchange for the tracks delaying their plans to install video lottery terminals.
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.
The Kentucky racing industry's next chance to win approval for a constitutional amendment on racetrack casinos will come in 2006, the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association said in a letter to members.
A bill that would allow video slot machines linked to the lottery at horse racing tracks has set off a rush of applications for new tracks in Michigan.
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.
River Downs in Ohio has reconsidered its position and allotted stalls to several prominent horsemen who were told they wouldn't get them for the meet that begins April 9.
Vernon Downs, an upstate New York Standardbred track, was licensed March 22 by the New York State Racing and Wagering Board on the condition a third party oversees racing operations.
Average purses will double at Evangeline Downs this season if the first condition book for the meet is any indication.
Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry signed a bill Monday that allows electronic gaming machines at three racetracks in the state. A bill-signing ceremony was scheduled for Tuesday.
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.
The gaming room at Saratoga Gaming and Raceway, which opened Jan. 28, handled $82 million and provided net earnings of $6.3 million through March 1.
A spokesman for Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry says the governor could sign the gaming bill on his desk by early next week.
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.
Efforts to bring 5,000 electronic pull-tab machines to Hoosier Park, Indiana Downs and two simulcast wagering facilities were defeated Feb. 12 in the Indiana General Assembly.
Racetracks in New York would be permitted to have full Las Vegas-style casinos under new state legislation that also calls for a constitutional amendment to permit non-Indian casinos in the Catskills and Western New York.
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.
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