Instant Racing--pari-mutuel wagering machines that closely resemble video lottery terminals--had its first $1-million day in handle Feb. 21 at Oaklawn Park. Instant Racing, a product of RaceTech, first began operating at the Hot Springs, Ark., racetrack in 2000.
Two proposals calling for pull-tab machines at Hoosier Park and Indiana Downs received their first hearing Jan. 26, but after three hours of debate in the House Public Policy and Veterans Affairs Committee, one thing was clear: Legislation to authorize the machines could meet an early fate.
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.
A proposal to finance a new stadium for the Indianapolis Colts by utilizing expanded gaming in downtown Indianapolis appears to be dead.
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.
The new holder of New York's Thoroughbred franchise would pay the state a one-time fee of $250 million, under a plan proposed Tuesday by Gov. George Pataki.
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.
Newly hired New York Racing Association president and chief executive officer Charles Hayward said Nov. 22 the racing organization is close to operating in the black again.
A supporter of video lottery terminals at Ohio's seven racetracks said Nov. 8 there is an "excellent chance" the proposal would go before Ohio voters in a November 2005 referendum.
Michigan voters effectively sounded the death knell for racinos in the state when they passed the anti-gambling Proposal 1 by a 58%-42% margin with 98% of precincts reporting.
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.
Planners of a Thoroughbred racetrack near Erie are weighing two location options pending a Sept. 15 license amendment decision from the Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission.
A measure to encourage the operation of video lottery terminals at several big racetracks in New York, including the New York Racing Association's Aqueduct track, collapsed Aug. 12 in Albany amid industry infighting, political intrigue and head-butting among powerful lobbyists.
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.
The Illinois legislature adjourned its "overtime" spring session without acting on a package of gaming reforms that could have brought slot machines to racetracks.
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.
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.
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