A hot topic when the Kentucky General Assembly convened Jan. 5, expanded gaming and racetrack video lottery terminals generated much talk but no action during the first week of the legislative session.
As the Delaware government awaits the results of an independent study into the expansion of casino gambling in the state, a study commissioned by three racetracks concluded the addition of casinos will cannibalize the market.
NYRA president Charles Hayward said the state needs to choose a casino operator for Aqueduct or the association will run out of money in June, which puts the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) at risk. As of now, the race will be run.
A Kentucky lawmaker has again requested an opinion from the state attorney general as to whether Instant Racing machines are legal under pari-mutuel statutes.
As the Kentucky Equine Education Project vows to continue its legislative push for racetrack gaming, a state lawmaker plans to move forward with his plan for statewide and local option votes on gaming.
Charles Town Races & Slots won approval Dec. 5 to install table games to go along with its 5,000 video lottery terminals.
The Saratoga Race Course Local Advisory Board has asked state government leaders to resolve the issue of selecting an operator for the video lottery terminal project at Aqueduct.
All five remaining bidders for the Aqueduct gaming project said they have met a Nov. 6 deadline to guarantee a quick $200-million payment to the state of New York if they are chosen to develop the video lottery terminal casino at the Queens racetrack.
Republican Kentucky Sen. Damon Thayer has prefiled legislation calling for a constitutional amendment to authorize racetrack video lottery terminals.
An MTR Gaming Group official said Nov. 4 passage of a casino referendum in Ohio will create new competition but also offer opportunity for racetracks in the Buckeye State.
The president of Churchill Downs Inc. said he believes recent developments with the makeup of the Kentucky General Assembly are positive and could help lead to legalization of video lottery terminals at racetracks in the state.
Delaware Park raced 27 fewer days this year but registered increases in total handle and average daily handle, track officials said Oct. 28.
A plan by Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort to offer the statutory minimum of 210 racing dates but race only eight months instead of year-round has met with opposition from horsemen and others in the community.
Republican Sen. Dan Kelly, a member of the Senate committee that killed racetrack gaming legislation during a special General Assembly session earlier this year, was appointed by Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear as an 11th Judicial Circuit judge.
Churchill Downs and Kentucky horsemen have reached a three-year agreement that sets purse payments, establishes purse supplements and ends a legal dispute that began in the spring of 2008.
Kentucky's horse racing and breeding industry plans to stand its ground in the wake of a proposal for a constitutional amendment on gaming some have characterized as a politically-motivated stall tactic.
A Kentucky Thoroughbred breeder said Republican lawmakers plan to push for a constitutional amendment on racetrack gaming, but a spokesperson for the state's Senate leader said that's not the case.
Pro-racetrack gaming forces in Ohio have taken a strong stand in opposition to a November referendum on full casino gambling in the state's four largest cities.
Democratic Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland Sept. 30 put his plan for racetrack video lottery terminals on hold indefinitely in light of a recent state Supreme Court ruling and a need to balance the state budget.
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.
- By Tom LaMarra
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.
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