- New York State’s highest court is hearing arguments concerning the very existence of VLT’s at racetracks and Indian casinos. A law passed in 2001, in the wake of the terrorist attacks, permitted such expansion of gambling, which was otherwise prohibited by state law. Opponents are citing that prohibition, claiming that even the two casinos and the racetrack slot parlors already present require a constitutional amendment to change the state law. Proponents argue that a Federal law permitting states to negotiate casino construction with tribes if there is any other permissible gambling present supercedes the state law; and that VLT’s are not really slot machines anyway, which would be illegal under the law, but something akin to lotteries. According to the NY Times, some judges were expressing concern that Indian-run casinos could someday lead to roulette wheels, poker tables and craps in populous cities like Manhattan and Buffalo, while another stated that
"The people have already chosen, and by allowing gambling to some degree, no longer can we exclude it…..Had New York said there shall be no gambling, and really meant it, no gambling period, then there's no power in the world that can compel New York to go to the table." [NY Times]This judge, Albert Rosenthal, added: " When casino opponents contended that federal laws don't compel New York to bargain with tribes…I tell you, you're in a lot of trouble with that position." [Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, link via Albany Law School Racing & Gaming]
On the other hand, the Kentucky Attorney General said that the Kentucky Constitution does not have to be amended to allow expanded gambling. [Bloodhorse]
- Jeff Mullins is in Dubai with Choctaw Nation and My Cousin Matt, preparing them for the World Cup and Golden Shaheen respectively. He needs to watch what he says in a region of the world where calling the wrong person an “idiot” could possibly lead to his public beheading. There are no bettors for him to call names, since gambling is not permitted in the United Arab Emirates, creating the always weird scene of people standing around watching horse racing with no action. I recall a bizarre opening day at Belmont one year when the clerks were on strike and there was no betting there. Nonetheless, the card went on, Forego was racing, and a few thousand race fans and degenerates who had made their bets at OTB (with me being in the latter category), were on hand for the action, probably more than show up on a typical race day now.
- The Jockey Guild is lobbying Kentucky for higher minimum riding weights. As always, the Guild didn’t mince words, as a spokesman said that in trying to make their assigned weights, "Across the country these jockeys are literally killing themselves." On the other hand,
Marty Maline, executive director of the Kentucky Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, said horsemen worry about added weights.
"They're very concerned how this will affect the health and welfare of the horse," Maline said. [Louisville Courier-Journal]
- Ken Warkentin dominated the 2 year old trotting scene last year, but isn’t scaring off potential opponents for the Hambletonian. The horse is named after the Meadowlands’ track announcer, which would create a weird circumstance for the race caller should the colt make it to the big race there.