- The table games bill that passed the West Virginia House of Delegates last Friday now proceeds to the State Senate, where opponents will have another shot to kill it, and racetracks will try to lower the 35% tax rate that they deem excessive. The law would allow racetracks in four counties to request that the question be put before local voters in the next election or primary; so it's conceivable it could create a new class of have's and have not's within the state.
One Senator, noting that his chamber has approved the idea in the past, said the approval process could move quickly in the Senate, and the bill will likely be passed out well before the session ends on March 10. [The Journal]
Even though table games are still a ways off in the state, neighbors are already thinking about the implcations - even those not directly bordering West Virginia. A Delaware columnist acknowledges that West Virginia's action has little direct affect on us.
But table games there would likely influence what Maryland lawmakers eventually decide. If they decided to go with table games to stay competitive with their neighboring state, that would affect us. Table games in Maryland would take a devastating toll on Delaware's slot machine revenues. [Delaware Online]Jeez, Maryland doesn't even have slots yet! One Delaware lawmaker is pushing for sports betting as a response to the slots in Pennsylvania. Delaware already has slot machines that simulate blackjack and poker, and with the right modifications, analysts said, the game could qualify as a slot machine in Pennsylvania. [Pittsburgh Tribune Review]
I read one article, whose link I unfortunately can't find now, that quoted an opponent as saying that table games are a way to lure horse players into the casino, and ultimately deposit them in front of the more addictive slot machines. You're not going to let that happen, right?
- The Pennsylvania Derby is back, and in a big way. It was skipped last year due to construction at Philly Park, but now is back with a $1 million purse.
- Ron Franklin, now 47 years old, was granted a license to exercise horses and a promise to have his jockey license considered in six months.
Frankliln must attend counseling with Dr. Reginald Gerstein at Fair Grounds three times a week. Gerstein and Franklin must maintain communication with Bill Borchardt, director of the Horsemen's Counseling Program in Maryland. And Franklin must take two random drug tests each month. [Bloodhorse]