While legislation that would allow video gaming at Michigan racetracks awaits action in the state legislature, residents have voiced their opposition to the proliferation of casino-type gambling in a recent poll.
Racing associations in Michigan have requested 734 racing dates in 2003, and among the applicants is EQTAH Group, a new concern headed by Andy Stronach.
The future of Michigan's Thoroughbred industry may lie squarely in the hands of three departing Republican politicians who are working against a year-end deadline to decide the fate of a legislative package that could reinvigorate racing in the state.
Terry Houghton, who regularly tops the standings at Great Lakes Downs, moved into an exclusive club June 3 when he became the 99th North American jockey to win his 3,000th race.
Michigan's racing commissioner said her office continues to field inquiries from companies interested in operating a Thoroughbred track in the Detroit metropolitan area, something horsemen believe is a key to any future growth for the sport.
Michigan Thoroughbred horsemen say their industry is dying because of the unfair and illegal way purse money is being distributed. The Michigan racing commissioner counters that she is using past precedent to distribute the purses, and that it would be illegal for her to vary from that precedent without the consent of all parties.
A proposal to allow video lottery terminals at seven Ohio racetracks is still alive in the statehouse--but just barely.
Despite a 6% overall decline in total wagering, Michigan tracks posted a strong last quarter for calendar 2001 with total wagering up 3.2% for the period of Oct. 1 through Dec. 31, 2001, an increase of $2.7 million as compared to the same period a year ago.
There will be little change in the Michigan racing calendar in 2002 under a schedule authorized Oct. 31 by Annette Bacola, the state's racing commissioner.
Top officials in Michigan said an investigation has revealed that pari-mutuel wagering companies have illegally accepted wagers from Michigan residents by telephone or through the Internet. The companies have been sent "warning letters," the officials said.
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