Earlier Tuesday about 100 backstretch workers, including trainers and jockeys, plus track employees rallied in favor of slots coming to Hastings Park, but about 50 local citizens also protested expanded gaming at the racetrack.
Hastings Park officials were hopeful slot machines could be installed at the racetrack sometime next summer. However, after a Vancouver city council vote on Tuesday night, installing slots at the racetrack is still on hold. Rather than voting to approve the machines at Hastings Park, and thus moving the process onto a public hearing phase, the council voted 6-5 to defer a decision until June, according to the Vancouver Sun.However, the council decided to move to the public hearing phase on a casino's application for slot machines. Hastings officials, particularly general manager Phil Heard, have been working to gain approval for slot machines at the track since late in 2002. In July the city council lifted a ban on slots machines in Vancouver proper. Other surrounding municipalities already allow the machines.