Penn National Gaming Inc., believed to be facing an uphill battle in the bidding wars to develop a video lottery terminal casino at Aqueduct, has offered the cash-starved New York state government $250 million in a non-contingency, upfront payment for the exclusive contract and believes it's still in the hunt for the project.
Negotiators in New York have tentatively narrowed down the bidding list to three entities to run the long-delayed video lottery terminal casino at Aqueduct, and a final decision could come as early as the week of Sept. 28.
Democratic Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland indicated Sept. 21 his administration is preparing to take the "next steps" in the wake of an Ohio Supreme Court ruling that says a statewide referendum is required before the state implements racetrack video lottery terminals.
Lane's End Farm general manager and prominent Republican Bill Farish said the Kentucky horse industry "will continue to hold our elected officials accountable, and we will not stop working until our state government gets out of the way and allows us to have the tools necessary to compete."
The Ohio Supreme Court Sept. 21 gave opponents of installing video lottery terminals at racetracks the chance to ask voters to repeal the plan.
Kentucky Senate President David Williams has continued a war of words with leading Democrats over the politics surrounding proposed racetrack gaming in Kentucky. But Williams, a Republican, has also apparently drawn the ire of Kentucky's top GOP leader.
Hoosier Park Racing & Casino has announced purse increase that has put purses about 20% higher than they were when its meet began July 30. Thus far, the Indiana track has paid about $30,000 more a day than Turfway Park in neighboring Kentucky.
Delaware Park and the Delaware Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association have agreed to shave seven days from the track's 2009 racing schedule because of a decline in revenue from video lottery terminals. The change must be approved by the Delaware Thoroughbred Racing Commission.
Sports betting launched at three Delaware racetracks Sept. 10, but officials are unsure how much revenue limited parlay wagering will generate.
Ellis Park, the western Kentucky racetrack that's on the fence for 2010, reported healthy gains in on-track business but a big drop in total handle after 20 days were cut from its 2009 meet.
The Ohio State Racing Commission has approved 2010 racing dates for two Thoroughbred tracks, but the facilities still have no agreement with horsemen on the schedules.
United States Sen. George Voinovich used biblical verse Sept. 3 to blast gambling proponents, including Ohio Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland, who is an ordained minister. Voinovich spoke while announcing a new lawsuit challenging implementation of racetrack video lottery terminals in the state.
A document submitted Sept. 1 suggests Penn National Gaming Inc. is underwriting an effort to overturn racetrack video lottery terminals legalized by Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland and the Ohio legislature in July, but the Pennsylvania-based company said the information is false.
Kentucky horsemen are hoping "light at the end of the tunnel" could help facilitate a contract for the upcoming Turfway Park meet.
Following the June demise of expanded gambling in the legislature, representatives of Kentucky's horse industry vowed to take a more aggressive role in statehouse campaigns. The industry's involvement in a special state Senate election in eastern Kentucky Aug. 25 is proving the threat wasn't hollow.
The Ohio State Racing Commission voted Aug. 20 to officially oppose a November referendum to authorize full casino gambling in the state's four largest cities.
The Ohio State Racing Commission Aug. 20 brought the grade II Ohio Derby back to the schedule this year by ordering a reduction of five live racing days at Thistledown, traditional host for the only graded stakes in the Buckeye State.
Five of seven Ohio racetracks failed to have their 2010 applications for dates approved because they don't have an agreement with horsemen or have other conflicts; several requested fewer racing dates than were scheduled for this year; and one facility indicated it wouldn't mind closing its barn area.
With Ellis Park considering closing its doors, the Kentucky Equine Education Project is organizing a "Forever Ellis!" rally Aug. 22 at the racetrack as a way for horse industry enthusiasts to show their support for the nearly 90-year-old facility and the entire equine industry in the state.
MTR Gaming Group, which cut jobs and corporate expenses in the past year, released improved financial results for the second quarter of 2009 and said it's poised for growth in Ohio, where racetrack video lottery terminals have been authorized.
A reduction in stakes purses for its upcoming meet will allow Turfway Park to maintain overnight purses and racing days, but track officials are thinking ahead to 2010, when that probably won't be the case.
Penn National Gaming, Inc. said Aug. 6 it will request to hold a special December referendum for table games at Charles Town Races & Slots.
Speculation abounds in Ohio, where casino companies are examining racetracks for possible purchase and a deal on revenue from video lottery terminals for purses hasn't been hammered out.
After Michigan horsemen experienced a scare of losing half of their summer/fall meet at Pinnacle Race Course, negotiations were held among the Michigan Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, the Michigan Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, and the Office of the Racing Commissioner to shave less than 10 days from the schedule.
The governor of West Virginia, on hand for the Aug. 1 West Virginia Derby (gr. II) at Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort, said gaming at tracks was built around racing, and the sport won't be allowed to suffer in exchange for company profits.
Six bidding groups vying to run a lucrative casino at Aqueduct racetrack have wrapped up their face-to-face presentations with senior aides to New York Gov. David Paterson and legislative leaders.
Penn National Gaming Inc. officials see upside to an expansion of gambling in Ohio, but said they have no idea how it will shake out.
A report from the Rutgers Equine Science Center details the economic impact of horse racing and breeding in New Jersey and says revenue from alternative gaming at racetracks has supported and fueled those programs in other states.
They tapped various talking points -- from higher purses and a beefed-up breeding industry to protecting green space and even family values -- but a group of Thoroughbred representatives have brought a singular message to state officials: Get the Aqueduct video lottery terminal casino off the ground.
A Republican Kentucky senator who chaired the committee that killed legislation to authorize video lottery terminals at the state's racetracks has been appointed as commissioner of the Kentucky Public Service Commission by Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear.
The Ohio Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association issued a statement July 16 confirming it will have to negotiate with racetracks for purse revenue from video lottery terminals.
It appears Ohio racetracks and horsemen's groups will have to negotiate the percentage of revenue that will go toward purses and breed development from video lottery terminals.
Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland signed a directive July 13 instructing the director of the Ohio Lottery to immediately begin taking steps to implement video lottery terminals at the seven racetracks in Ohio. But questions remain as to how the racing and breeding industry will benefit.
Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland said July 10 he will sign an executive order authorizing video lottery terminals at Ohio's seven racetracks, but questions remain as to how much revenue -- if any -- purses and breed development will receive.
Video lottery terminals at the seven racetracks in Ohio may be authorized by an executive order from Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland, a newspaper reported July 10.
Ellis Park owner Ron Geary said June 24 it's too soon to say a commitment from the racing industry and legislators to fight for racetrack gaming will keep his track open beyond the 2009 season. Meanwhile, Turfway Park and the Kentucky Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association plan to sit down soon to devise a plan that could include reductions in purses and racing dates for future meets.
Republican Sen. Damon Thayer, under heavy fire from some in the Kentucky horse industry for not being publicly proactive on racetrack gaming legislation, on June 25 outlined his position on the issue and claimed that a "political war" would only hinder the industry.
About 1,000 members of Kentucky's horse industry turned out for a short-notice rally at Keeneland June 24 and were told by officials and state lawmakers the fight for racetrack gaming isn't over.
Having failed to get a law approved permitting racetrack casinos to offer electronic table games, New York Gov. David Paterson's Lottery Division is moving ahead with plans for the new gambling devices at the state's eight racetrack-based casinos. But a lawyer who has sued the state over past gambling expansions said the Paterson administration may be playing with legal fire.
The Kentucky horse industry, in the wake of the defeat of racetrack gaming legislation, is planning a rally at the Keeneland sale pavilion in Lexington at 6:30 p.m. EDT June 24.
As Ohio racetracks are busy working on a plan for racetrack gaming, horsemen's groups are lobbying the state legislature to get behind Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland's proposal for video lottery terminals at tracks.
After debate of nearly four hours June 19, the Kentucky House of Representatives approved a bill permitting video lottery terminals at racetracks. The vote was 52 in favor, 45 opposed with two abstentions.
Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, in search of money to balance the state budget, on June 19 proposed putting racetrack video lottery terminals into the budget bill.
The Kentucky House Appropriations and Revenue Committee June 18 sent racetrack gaming legislation to the full House of Representatives for consideration.
As a special session of the Kentucky legislature convened to consider several issues, including legalization of video lottery terminals at racetracks, the Kentucky Equine Education Project released results of a poll showing 61% of registered voters favored alternative gaming at tracks.
Passage of legislation that would allow video lottery terminals at Kentucky racetracks would provide a boost to the state's yearling auctions later this year, according to Brereton Jones of Airdrie Stud.
The Kentucky Equine Education Project is organizing a rally June 17 in the Capitol Rotunda to drum up support for legislation that would financially assist the horse industry.
On the eve of the release of racetrack gaming legislation on the call for a special session of the Kentucky General Assembly, the state's top lawmakers debated the merits of the plan and indicated it won't be a slam dunk.
Jockey Calvin Borel, who has been in the spotlight over the last five weeks as a result of victories in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) and BlackBerry Preakness Stakes (gr. I), is assisting in the effort to obtain video lottery terminals at racetracks in Kentucky.
Once again, the Texas legislature concluded its biannual session without passing a bill to legalize video lottery terminal at the state's racetracks. But the potential for a task force on the racing industry offers some hope for assistance.
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