- NYRA's Bill Nader, who will continue at the association until mid-April, told Jerry Bossert of the NY Daily News: "We ... are anxious to launch, but we are regulated by the State of New York and need approval. We are hopeful that the state's approval is imminent." But no, this is not yet another post on the delayed racino; this is regarding NYRA's internet wagering site, a concept finally approved by the state early this year. Despite having submitted their application two months ago, no action has been taken. So the ad on NYRA's website continues to read "Coming Soon."
- The settlement between Churchill and the Jockeys Guild includes resumption of the contributions that the track conglomerate stopped paying the Guild in 2005 during the Gertmenian disaster, as many other tracks did as well. However, the payments were based on the number of mounts at its tracks, and since Churchill has since sold off Hollywood, Hooiser, and Ellis Park, expected to be significantly less than $375,000 a year, the amount it was averaging before. [Daily Racing Form]
- More slots, longer hours, and easier access to money may be coming to Florida, where talk of attempts to repeal Broward's casino laws seems to have ebbed with the departure of Jeb Bush, and Democratic gains in both houses of the legislature. A House panel approved a measure which would, if passed by both Houses and signed by Gov Crist, allow an increase in the maximum number of slots per facility from 1500 to 2000, and an extension in their hours from 16 hours a day to 24 on weekends and 18 hours on weekdays. ATM's would be permitted as long as they're not in the same room as the machines.
It is illegal to have ATMs or to cash checks on-site, so patrons now must leave the parimutuels and ride on shuttle buses provided by the casinos to get more money. [Sun-Sentinal]Man, that must be one grim bus ride; and it seems somewhat perverse to me that the racinos would whisk tapped out customers to their cash machines and back.
Patrons at the four Pennsylvania racinos have bet $1.57 billion since January 1, producing roughly $17.5 million for purses and breed development for horse racing.
Pocono Downs...will offer an all-time-high $100,000 a day in purses for its upcoming meet.- And here's an interesting piece by attorney Andrew Cohen, a harness horse owner and legal analyst for CBS News, regarding the New Jersey Racing Commission's acceptance of a settlement that would in theory permit driver Eric Ledford to be re-licensed next month; his original suspension in the Aranesp scandal was 10 years. Cohen feels that the state's evidence obviously wasn't the slam dunk that it was originally made out to be, and that once the prosecutor bailed on the criminal case against the Ledford Five, last week’s actions by the New Jersey Racing Commission were a foregone conclusion.
Meanwhile, at Penn National Race Course, Thoroughbreds for the first 25 racing days of this year competed for daily average purses of $71,000. Penn National is licensed for slots, but owner Penn National Gaming Inc. opted to build a new, integrated racing and gaming facility that won’t open until early 2008 rather than operate a temporary slots facility.
When Penn National slots are operational, purses are expected to approach $200,000 a day under a year-round racing schedule. [Bloodhorse]
Something just wasn’t right with the case against Ledford and Company. Something convinced the prosecutor that he did not necessarily hold a winning legal hand—and that “something” (whatever it is) also allowed the defense attorneys involved in this to convince the commission that an exit strategy made sense before the administrative hearing. I guess the commission figured that whatever scared off the prosecutor figured to scare off the administrative law judge, too.
What happened between the harsh findings by the Board of Judges and the soft landing announced last week? I do not know. I do know, however, that the disconnect between the findings of the Board of Judges last year and the language used by the commission this year ought to be embarrassing to both bodies. Either the Board of Judges prematurely oversold its case against the Ledford Five or the commission has belatedly undersold it. Either way, those folks ought to have a sit-down to discuss how this sort of thing can be avoided in the future. [Harnesslink]