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.
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.
Democratic Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear announced June 4 that racetrack gaming would be included in the special legislative session that will focus on the state budget.
- By Tom LaMarra
Though racetrack gaming wasn't put on the initial call for a June 15 special legislative session in Kentucky, the state's horse racing industry expressed confidence the issue will be on the agenda -- and pass.
Charles Town Races & Slots will offer purse incentives in certain races with seven or more starters effective June 6 in an effort to increase field size.
- By Tom LaMarra
Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear said May 29 he will call a special legislative session to deal with "the largest budget shortfall in modern Kentucky history," but stopped short of saying he will put racetrack gaming on the agenda.
The Delaware Supreme Court said a proposed sports-betting lottery doesn't conflict with the state constitution.
Delaware expects to offer sports betting at its three racetracks this summer under a new law that also allows the tracks to offer table games such as blackjack, craps, poker, and roulette.
The state of New York should abandon efforts to find new bidders to develop a video lottery terminal casino at Aqueduct and instead tap the New York Racing Association to run the long-delayed facility, a leading state lawmaker believes.
The head of Delaware's gambling industry group said Democratic Gov. Jack Markell's proposed budget would be devastating to the state's three racetracks, including Delaware Park.
Saying five of the state's seven racetracks will close without assistance from the legislature, the Ohio State Racing Commission March 19 released a draft plan for 14,000 video lottery terminals that would be located at tracks.
The economy continues to take its toll on racetracks, including those with alternative gaming. Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort in West Virginia said it will cut overnight purses 10% effective April 20.
Turfway Park has canceled its third consecutive Monday program because of a shortage of horses, officials said March 13.
With the Kentucky General Assembly seemingly headed for a special session this spring or summer to address a substantial revenue deficit, a legislative committee March 12 heard testimony on a bill that would authorize video lottery terminals at racetracks in the state.
In anticipation of a push by a consortium for casino gambling in Ohio's four largest cities, the Ohio State Racing Commission is formulating its own legislative proposal for video lottery terminals at the state's seven racetracks.
The New York Thoroughbred Breeders, disturbed by a delay in a plan for thousands of video lottery terminals at Aqueduct, called the situation "inexplicable" and said Gov. David Paterson should put the project on "war footing."
Turfway Park is having a tough time making up for programs canceled because of the weather during the current winter/spring meet.
The chairman of the Kentucky Equine Education Project said Feb. 18 he expects gaming-related legislation benefitting the Kentucky horse industry to pass -- but he's not sure when.
A Penn National Gaming Inc. official said the company doesn't plan to ask voters this year to approve table games at Charles Town Races & Slots in West Virginia.
Revised legislation to authorize video lottery terminals at Kentucky racetracks unanimously passed out of a House of Representatives committee Feb. 12, but its sponsor is unsure the measure will be voted on by the full House during the current General Assembly session.
The company selected to operate video lottery terminals at Aqueduct said there are a host of unresolved issues, including restructuring its financing deal, before it can close on a final agreement with the state of New York to begin construction on the long-delayed facility.
Legislation to authorize video lottery terminals at Kentucky racetracks will be amended in several key areas, one of which is a substantial increase in the licensing fee racetracks would pay for VLT licenses.
The Kentucky Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association is circulating a petition asking the General Assembly to support legislation to authorize video lottery terminals at racetracks in the state.
Democratic Kentucky Rep. Greg Stumbo was sworn in Jan. 7 as the state's speaker of the House, giving some in the Thoroughbred industry hope that alternative gaming may soon exist in the Bluegrass State.
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