Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort will be in the spotlight Aug. 6 with its $1.65 million all-stakes program featuring the West Virginia Derby. But on a day-to-day basis, the track continues to struggle in a difficult economic environment.
Though the numbers will vary depending on revenue generated by video lottery terminals, purse accounts at West Virginia racetracks will take another hit because of a legislature-mandated reduction to help support the fiscal 2016-17 budget.
Some proposed changes and updates to Thoroughbred racing rules in West Virginia will have to wait almost another year because of an indirect veto by the governor.
Pro-racing lawmakers in West Virginia took part in a March 1 Capitol press conference to discuss the economic impact of Thoroughbred racing and breeding given legislation that would decouple live racing from gaming.
Racing interests and their legislative representatives plan a rally March 1 at the West Virginia Capitol in Charleston to combat bills that call for the decoupling of live racing from gaming.
The West Virginia Senate Feb. 25 had first reading on legislation that would defund and decouple greyhound racing from gaming but maintain requirements that Thoroughbred racing receive its share of gaming revenue.
Legislation that would remove the requirement that racetracks with gaming also offer live racing has been introduced in the West Virginia Senate.
Legislation that would restore video lottery terminal-generated purse funds that have been diverted to pay down a workers' compensation debt has been introduced in the West Virginia House of Delegates.
The West Virginia racing industry will pursue several initiatives during the 2016 legislative session, including statutory changes that would lower the minimum number of racing dates for which tracks must apply each year.
The West Virginia Racing Commission June 2 authorized creation of a committee that will be charged with providing information to a legislative committee that will study the state's racing and gaming industries.
A West Virginia Racing Commission purse analysis based on revenue projections from all sources indicates the state and its racetracks have serious issues to address regarding live racing dates in the future.
Both houses of the West Virginia legislature have adopted a resolution forming a select committee that will undertake a "comprehensive study" of the state's racing and gaming industries and report its findings in 2016.
Legislation for the fiscal 2016 state budget in West Virginia is calling for another reduction in video lottery terminal and table games revenue that goes to purses at Thoroughbred and Greyhound tracks.
The West Virginia Racing Commission Feb. 17 tabled a request by Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races to reduce the number of live racing dates it was awarded for 2015.
A state-approved 10% reduction in video lottery terminal revenue and continued softness in the regional gambling market have led officials and horsemen at Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort to reduce purses.
The governing body of Jefferson County, W.Va., where Charles Town Races is located, plans to send a message to state legislators that further reductions in the share of gaming revenue that supports racing are unacceptable.
The West Virginia Legislature March 14 passed a fiscal year 2014-15 budget that will redirect 10% of racing's share of gaming revenue to other programs.
Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort will kick off its 210-day season March 1 with average daily overnight purses of about $115,000, a figure on par with 2013.
Racing stakeholders and government officials Feb. 4 publicly stated their opposition to legislation that would shift 15% of video lottery and table games revenue to fund other programs in West Virginia.
The West Virginia Racing Commission will soon consider a penalty system for drug violations that dovetails with uniform model rules making their way through the state legislature.
Legislation introduced in the West Virginia Senate March 6 calls for several statutory changes regarding racing, including a substantial reduction in the minimum number of dates a track must schedule each year.
An overhaul of the West Virginia rules of racing, including revisions in the area of equine medication and penalties, has passed the state legislature. The document was filed April 11 with the Secretary of State.
Legislation that would have diverted gaming funds from several recipients including horse and dog racing in West Virginia has been altered to instead use excess video lottery terminal revenue.
The West Virginia Senate Feb. 25 passed an overhaul of the state's horse racing regulations, which include mandatory pre-race veterinary exams for horses.
West Virginia racing's "10-10-10 program," which offers purse supplements to in-state Thoroughbred owners, as well as breeders and stallion owners, will return under legislation signed into law April 2 by Gov. Joe Manchin.
West Virginia horse racing's "10-10-10" program, which offers purse supplements to in-state Thoroughbred owners, as well as breeders and stallion owners, would return under legislation passed by the state Senate March 2.
Four West Virginia counties plan local-option votes on the addition of table games at racetracks.
If West Virginia's governor signs legislation passed by both houses of the state legislature, voters in four counties will decide the fate of table games at four racetracks in the state.
The West Virginia Senate March 6 voted to legalize table games at the state's horse and dog racing tracks. The bill, which already passed the House of Delegates, must return there for concurrence.
The West Virginia Senate is schedule to vote on legislation to authorize table games at the state's four tracks, including Charles Town Races & Slots and Mountaineer Race Track & Gaming Resort.
Legislation to authorize table games at West Virginia racetracks was introduced Jan. 30 in the state legislature.
- By Tom LaMarra
West Virginia lawmakers are considering two bills--one that would prohibit account wagering, and another that would authorize county referendums on the addition of casino-style games at Thoroughbred and Greyhound racetracks.
- By Tom LaMarra
The latest condition book at Mountaineer Race Track and Gaming Resort reflects a 20% reduction in purses primarily brought about by the shift of some video lottery terminal revenue to the state to fix its workers' compensation system.
- By Tom LaMarra
Thoroughbred interests in West Virginia are hopeful lawmakers will correct action that took revenue for a proposed breed development program at Mountaineer Race Track and Gaming Resort and shifted half of it to an incentive program for racing Greyhounds.
West Virginia's four racetracks moved a stepped closer to becoming full-scale casinos March 28 when the state Senate approved legislation to legalize table games at the facilities.
Legislation endorsed by the West Virginia Senate Judiciary Committee would allow casino-style table games at the four racetracks in the state, but the panel also doubled the state tax on the games from 12% to 24%.
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