NEWS

Mobile Greyhounds safe and sound

MOBILE, Ala. — When Mobile Greyhound Park closed on August 19, 2017, approximately 230 Greyhounds were moved into adoption programs with the track closing and another approximately 170 were moved to other tracks or went back to their owners. THANK YOU to all involved in helping the Mobile Greyhounds get closer to their Forever Homes.

 

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Mobile Greyhound Park to close permanently in August

MOBILE, Ala. (WPMI) — The Mobile Greyhound Park will end live races this month. Mobile Greyhound Park is a property of Wind Creek Hospitality who cite a “declining market demand” as a reason for eliminating the live races. The park will continue to offer simulcast of races originating from other locations.

The National Greyhound Association (NGA) also released a statement saying they have been informed by management of the Mobile Greyhound Park that the live races will end following the program of August 19th.

Wind Creek Hospitality says they have plans in place to assist the kennel owners with relocation, adoption, and ongoing care of the greyhounds. The NGA is working with different groups throughout the country and assure that “each and every greyhound at Mobile Greyhound Park will be properly cared for until transferred to another racing facility to continue their careers or adopted into a loving home.” The NGA says Mobile Greyhound Park will provide services necessary to care, transport, and re-home all of the greyhounds at their facility.

If you wish to help in this effort, contact NGA at 785-263-4660 or Mobile Greyhound Park at 251-653-5000.

 

•••

State grants Miami track’s request to let the dogs out,
play jai-alai instead

By Dara Kam, News Service of Florida
Miami Herald

TALLAHASSEE July 20, 2017 5:58 PM  – Florida gambling regulators this week gave a Miami dog track permission to ditch greyhound races but keep more lucrative slot machines and card games, in a first-of-its-kind ruling.  The Department of Business and Professional Regulation on Wednesday granted  a request from West Flagler Associates, which operates Magic City Casino in  Miami, to replace dog races with jai-alai matches, as part of a drawn-out  legal dispute over a controversial “summer jai-alai” permit.  It’s the first time a pari-mutuel facility has been allowed to drop dog or  horse races and continue operating slots.

The Magic City decision is rooted in a 1980 Florida law that allows  pari-mutuels in Miami-Dade and Broward counties that have the lowest betting  handle for two consecutive years to convert to summer jai-alai permits. But  if those pari-mutuels do not seek conversion, other facilities can seek the  permits.

The Miami dog track’s lawyer, John Lockwood, first sought the summer  jai-alai permit for Magic City in 2011.  After much legal wrangling, the department’s Division of Pari-Mutuel  Wagering denied the track’s request to do away with dog races, launch  jai-alai games and keep lucrative slots that the track began operating after  voters signed off on the machines in 2004.

In a declaratory statement issued Wednesday, state regulators said Florida  law gives the track the green light to do away with dog races, as long as  the jai-alai matches take place at the same facility where the current  greyhound permit is operated.

“The jai-alai fronton is going to take up significantly less space than the  greyhound track, so this frees up West Flagler to develop its property to  the highest and best use,” Lockwood told The News Service of Florida on  Thursday.

Wednesday’s decision came in response to a question posed by Magic City,  asking regulators if the pari-mutuel would still be able to operate slots if  the dog races were discontinued and replaced by jai-alai games.  The answer rests on whether “a licensed pari-mutuel facility as present in  Florida law means ‘the actual racetrack or jai-alai fronton,’ ” Division of  Pari-mutuel Wagering Director Anthony Glover wrote in Wednesday’s  declaratory statement.

If so, the summer jai-alai permit wouldn’t meet the requirements “because a  new fronton would have to be built,” Glover wrote.

Alternatively, if a “licensed pari-mutuel facility” means “the areas of the  facility where pari-mutuel activity takes place, petitioner’s summer jai  alai permit operating at the same location as where the greyhound permit was  located would remain an eligible facility,” Glover wrote, siding with the  dog track.

“… It is apparent that the Legislature intended for the term ‘licensed  pari-mutuel facility’ … to refer to the physical location or piece of  property utilized for pari-mutuel wagering, rather than just the racetrack  or jai-alai fronton itself,” he wrote.

The agency’s decision won’t have broad implications but comes as lawmakers  consider a push by gambling operators who want to do away with live dog and  horse racing while holding onto slots or card rooms.

“It’s pretty clear that the department intends for this to not have any  far-reaching effects, but once again, John Lockwood has masterfully used a  unique set of circumstances to create a positive outcome for his client,”  Scott Ross, a former deputy secretary at the Department of Business and  Professional Regulation who is now a lobbyist representing other gambling  operators, said in a telephone interview Thursday.

Hartman and Tyner Inc., and H&T Gaming Inc., which operate rival Mardi Gras  Casino and Racetrack in Broward County, had sought to intervene in the case.  Lawyers for the Hallandale Beach dog track argued that Magic City was asking  regulators to establish “a new and completely unfounded policy that  improperly expands the types of permits eligible for slot machine gaming  beyond what the plain terms” of the Constitution and state law allow.  But in Wednesday’s declaratory statement, gambling officials rejected the  petition to intervene, saying Mardi Gras had not shown “with particularity  what real and immediate injury or impact the outcome of the declaratory  statement would have had on the intervenors.”

Multiple attempts to reach representatives of Mardi Gras were unsuccessful.  Isadore Havenick, vice president of the family-owned West Flagler  Associates, which also operates a greyhound track in Southwest Florida and  owns a 25 percent share of a jai-alai fronton in Dania Beach, said Magic  City sought to put an end to the dog races in Miami because “nobody wants to  watch them.”

The Havenicks are among the track owners who have pushed lawmakers to allow  pari-mutuels to “decouple,” which would allow operators to do away with live  horse or dog races while keeping more lucrative gambling activities such as  slots or card rooms.

“Since decoupling hasn’t happened, and since jai-alai has to run fewer  performances than dogs do, we said if we have two permits at the same  location, why can’t we switch sports that we do here,” Havenick told the  News Service on Thursday. “Nobody’s watching. Our dog men complain that they  have to come over to Miami and deal with Miami when they get no customers in  the stands. So this is a way for us to try a new sport and see if we can  make a go of that.”

 

•••

Gambling deal is dead, Galvano says

Tuesday, May 2, 2017 12:32pm - Tampa Bay Times

The Legislature will not pass a new gaming deal that could have expanded slot machines in Florida and allowed new games at the Seminole Tribe of Florida's seven casinos.

“It’s dead,” State Sen. Bill Galvano said Tuesday as negotiations with the Florida House over gambling in Florida collapsed.

Galvano said he’s going to request Senate President Joe Negron dissolve a conference committee aimed at working out a deal because the House and Senate are at an impasse that just can't be resolved.

Earlier on Tuesday, Rep. Jose Felix Diaz, R-Miami, said there were a lot of little hang-ups, but the biggest was how the two chambers wanted to address slot machines in 8 counties that have held referrendums to permit them.

"The House has stuck to its original position of not expanding to the eight referendum counties, and the Senate has continued to ask for different variations of expansion in those counties," said Diaz, the House's lead negotiator on the gambling deal.  "We have a very difficult time with the concept of massive expansion of gaming."

Senate President Joe Negron, R-Stuart, said Monday night that the issue is about more than expanding gambling. He said it was also about respecting the will of voters in the eight counties who have voted to have the slot machines.

"They voted for it," Negron said. "They’re the same people who sent us here and I feel strongly that a gaming bill has to respect their decision to allow more gaming opportunity. If we can resolve that issue, then I think everything else can fall into place."

But Diaz said philosophically that was a problem for the House. He said there are small counties making decisions to expand gaming options that will affect neighboring counties and cities that have not voted for expanding slot machines.

"The fear is that you have counties that are very small that are not very populated and they are voting and that affects their neighboring counties," Diaz said. "As something as important in a state that has a history of allowing everybody to vote for expansion of slots, I think the House has consistently said that if you really do want gaming in these counties, maybe every voter in the state should agree."

Voters passed a statewide referendum to allow slot machines in Miami-Dade and Broward, but there has never been a statewide referendum on the other counties that have since passed their own proposals. The 8 other counties that have passed referendums include Brevard, Duval, Gadsden, Lee, Hamilton, Palm Beach, St. Lucie and Washington counties.

•••

Greyhound activists join Florida's gambling fight

By Alexandra Glorioso, USA TODAY NETWORK - Florida -Published 9:14 p.m. ET April 8, 2017 | Updated 6:51 a.m. ET April 10, 2017

TALLAHASSEE - Florida’s high-stakes fight over gambling features powerful forces clashing, including the Seminole tribe, Disney World and 12 owners of race tracks.

And then there’s GREY2K, a national advocacy group with less muscle but no less fight championing the cause of greyhounds. This year’s battle over gambling offers the greyhound group a rare opportunity to accomplish its goal: eliminate dog racing now held to justify card games in Florida.

Florida began its foray into a complicated gaming system in 1931 when it legalized “betting among ourselves,” or pari-mutuels, in the form of live events such as jai alai matches, and horse and greyhound racing. Since then, every step to expand gambling across the state has been legislatively linked to these live events.

In an attempt to renegotiate a 2010 agreement with the Seminole tribe and bring in $3 billion to state coffers, House and Senate leaders are pushing gambling bills that represent wildly different ideas about gaming in Florida.

The House bill, H 7037, run by Rep. Mike La Rosa, a chair of the tourism and gaming subcommittee from St. Cloud, cracks down on gambling laws entangled in a series of federal and state lawsuits by forbidding slot machines in eight counties including Brevard, Lee and St. Lucie that have approved them. It also ties greyhounds to gambling until the contract expires in 2036.

The Senate bill, SB8, sponsored by Sen. Bill Galvano, a chair of the education subcommittee from Bradenton, broadly expands gambling by allowing any county that has approved slot machines to have them and unbinding live events from card rooms, including greyhound racing.

The tribe argues both plans don’t go far enough.

Some Republicans say GREY2K could benefit this year from the intricate chess game of ideology, lawsuits and special interests, and successfully disconnect greyhound racing from card games.

“It would completely depend on the details,” said La Rosa. But he acknowledged, it’s “something that could be discussed.”

Galvano said he was not interested in taking La Rosa up on a slot machine-live-events trade but did call greyhound racing a “dying industry.”

About GREY2K, he said, “They are effective, but it’s an easy sell.”

GREY2K is a national nonprofit co-founded by Carey Theil that works towards outlawing greyhound racing. Theil said he started working in Florida during its legislative sessions in 2012.

His political argument is simple: Tracks shouldn’t be forced to race dogs up to 16 times a day so that gambling facilities can have card rooms. The races no longer attract crowds and the tracks are losing money.

As evidence, he referenced financial reports from the state that show race tracks operating at a combined $31.2 million loss in 2015. In addition, the number of days for live racing, which includes greyhounds, has declined by nearly 39 percent since fiscal year 2007, according to the last annual report released by the state’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation.

Theil said his organization does contribute to political campaigns but in the tens of thousands of dollars compared to other groups battling in the gambling fight that give in the six figures every cycle.

His tactics have frequently aligned him with Senate moderates who want to expand gaming and pitted him against House conservatives who link live events to card rooms as a political strategy to limit gambling in the state.

Theil’s biggest political adversary is Jack Cory, a lobbyist who said he represents “all of the dog people.” Cory considers Theil a political opportunist who has very little real involvement with animals.

Cory argues the greyhound racing industry provides a stable, profitable income with less up-front investment than horses for blue-collar dog breeders, farmers and trainers. He sees himself as a natural enemy to race track owners, whose buildings he refers to as “ugly,” whose tracks he frequently criticizes as unsafe and who he says are too greedy. Track owners keep 19 to 30 percent of prize money for races while Cory’s clients split about 4 percent, he said.

From Cory’s perspective, Theil is really just giving race track owners who already have a monopoly on one industry the political edge to become even more profitable.

Cory said the state monitors racing statistics and financials from live betting but does not do the same for betting from computers or telephones, which are reaping huge profits for track owners but aren’t reported and are currently illegal under state law.

“The financial reports to the department are self reporting and are fake reports because they are reporting by millionaires that want to become billionaires by having casinos,” Cory said.

Ron Book, the lobbyist for the Naples-Fort Myers Greyhound Track in Bonita owned by the Havernick family, said greyhound racing isn’t profitable “period,” and the racetracks he represents aren’t engaged with track betting by phones or computers.

“I will not dignify made up ignorant commentary by Mr. Cory who makes things up to suit his interests,” Book said.

Book supports the Senate bill and said the Havernick family wants “slots, cards and would love to continue limited racing” for Naples-Fort Myers.

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West Virginia Governor Vetoes Anti-Racing Bill

By Brad McElhinny in News | April 08, 2017 at 12:44PM

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Gov. Jim Justice has vetoed a bill that would eliminate the state’s role in the greyhound racing industry. Both sides of the issue said the bill would effectively kill greyhound racing at the state’s two tracks.

There’s still a chance lawmakers could vote to override the veto today, the 60th and final day of the session, but the talk at the Capitol was that there hasn’t been that much desire to do so.

The governor went to the Northern Panhandle, where greyhound racing occurs at Wheeling Island, to make his announcement. He appeared at Independence Hall with a large crowd.

“If we get rid of greyhound racing it will mean job losses and fewer people coming to West Virginia,” Justice later stated in a release.

“Eliminating support for the greyhounds is a job killer and I can’t sign it. The last thing we need to do is drive more people out of West Virginia. We can’t turn our back on communities like Wheeling that benefit from dog racing.”

In his veto message, Justice questioned the legality of the Legislature unilaterally decoupling West Virginia casinos and race tracks because counties authorized gaming and racing as a package deal. Justice said that SB 437 would also jeopardize the health of the state’s casino industry.

Justice stated, “Greyhounds are born runners, and I hope to keep them running in West Virginia for a very long time.”

“We can’t turn our back on dog racing in WV!” Justice said in a tweet about his veto.

The bill would have eliminated the state’s role in funding the greyhound breeder’s fund and purses for races. Money in the fund comes from other fees paid by the state’s casinos. The state handles the money through Lottery funds.

It would have allowed the two greyhound racetracks at Wheeling Island and Mardi Gras in Cross Lanes to retain their other gaming licenses.

It also would have invested a million dollars in a fund to promote the adoption of retired greyhounds.

Those who voted for the bill said the state should not have a role in promoting greyhound racing. They also viewed the bill as a way to transfer about $14 million that would have gone to greyhound racing into the general fund to help balance the state budget.

The bill had a particularly challenging path through the state House of Delegates, where there were several delays on voting.

Delegates Erikka Storch, a Republican, and Shawn Fluharty, a Democrat, were particularly vocal in their opposition to the bill. Both serve the Wheeling area.

Justice mentioned both as he made his announcement today. Storch and Fluharty were watching the livestream of his announcement from the House chambers while in recess.

Storch said today she hopes the Legislature will stand pat.

“I’m hopeful that my colleagues can look at the numbers, look at the impact to the state, to their districts,” Storch said.

“I don’t believe from what I’ve heard that the Senate has enough votes to overrride it. The House, sadly as the numbers went last week, 56-44, it possibly could get through the House.”

Fluharty said he was glad his community turned out in support of the governor and the industry that affects his district.

“We were happy to see the results and what took place in Wheeling. Glad to see Wheeling turn out the way they did. That was a great crowd to see the governor,” Fluharty said.

Fluharty was hoping midnight and the end of the legislation will come before any override attempt.

“Now it becomes a procedural game. I’m willing to read race results for the past 10 years if I have to.”

He doubted it would come to that, though.

“I’m confident we will not see a veto override issue.”

 

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House passes bill eliminating state funding for greyhound racing

Phil Kabler , Staff Writer

April 1, 2017

Greyhound racing may be coming around its final turn in West Virginia, after the House of Delegates voted 56-44 Saturday for passage of a bill eliminating the state’s $15 million annual purse fund subsidy (SB437).

During an extended debate on the measure, opponents of the bill said it would put as many as 1,700 people out of work, would hurt the two cities where greyhound racetracks are located, and could cause a downturn in casino profits that are distributed to cities and counties statewide.

Proponents argued that in the midst of an ongoing budget crisis, the state cannot afford to support what was called a dying sport.

“This budget, doggone it, there’s not one easy decision with this thing,” said House Finance Chairman Eric Nelson, R-Kanawha, explaining the need to set priorities to deal with a $500 million shortfall in the 2017-18 state budget.

“The priority is, do we use this amount of money to support purses, or do we look at higher ed and have an affect on that. Do we look at health programs?”

Opponents – many from the northern panhandle, where one of the greyhound racetrack casinos is located at Wheeling Island – argued the defunding will cost more than it will save through lost jobs and businesses at greyhound kennels, feed stores, veterinarian offices, and other related businesses.

“What’s the one thing we came here for that we all agree on, that we all campaigned on? Jobs,” said Delegate Shawn Fluharty, D-Ohio.

Delegate Erikka Storch, R-Ohio, said the city of Wheeling will lose funds that it uses for downtown revitalization and to stabilize municipal police and fire pension funds if greyhound racing is defunded.

“It will destroy jobs and economic activity in the northern panhandle,” she said.

Under the bill, which would “decouple” the casinos from the requirement that they offer live greyhound racing in order to maintain state video lottery and table games licenses, the casinos could relocate within their counties, with permission from the Lottery Commission – and there is concern that Wheeling Island casino could move to the Highlands, a shopping and entertainment complex outside of the city limits.

Delegate Joe Canestraro, D-Marshall, argued that instead of restructuring state government, the Legislature is focused on picking off comparatively small, vulnerable programs such as the Courtesy Patrol and greyhound racing.

“All this body has done is vote to cut low-hanging fruit under the illusion we’re right-sizing government,” he said. “What we’re doing is we’re taking jobs and revenue from our districts.”

Delegate Mike Caputo, D-Marion, said that when past legislators voted to legalized video lottery and, later, table games at the state’s racetrack casinos, they did so with the pledge that greyhound and thoroughbred racing at the tracks would be preserved.

“We always assured people in the industry that we couldn’t have one without the other,” he said. “We’ve got a little bit of integrity to uphold here for past Legislatures who passed these funds.”

Nelson, however, noted that racetrack video lottery was legalized in 1994, and table games in 2007, in part, because of a steady decline in profits from wagering on greyhound racing, a downturn that began in the late 1980s.

He said the bill does not ban greyhound racing, and the racetrack casinos can continue racing if revenues from live wagering and simulcast betting are sufficient to support it.

Delegate Cindy Frich, R-Monongalia, called greyhound racing a dying sport, citing a Spectrum Gaming Group study from 2015 showing that the state subsidy accounts for 95 percent of racing purses, and that 65 percent of those purses go to out-of-state greyhound owners.

She also alluded to humane issues with the breeding and racing of greyhounds, stating, “There’s a reason why people in this country don’t like this sport, and states are banning this sport.”

West Virginia is one of six states where greyhound racing is still legal and operating.

The bill provides $1 million for a fund to assist in adoption of greyhounds at racing kennels. It also provides $1.5 million for administrative funds for the state Racing Commission.

The remaining funding, about $13.5 million, would be available to close gaps in the 2017-18 budget, Nelson said.

Grey2K USA, a national group that opposes greyhound racing on humane issues, called the vote “a happy finish line” for greyhound racing in the state.

“This is a critical step, both for the humane treatment of our canine friends, and to ensure that West Virginia citizens no longer spend millions funding a Depression-era style of gambling that is no longer popular,” Grey2K USA president Christine Dorchak said after the vote.

The bill goes to Gov. Jim Justice, who in the past has said he supports greyhound racing for its tourism potential, but has suggested he will not intervene if the defunding is a component of reaching a budget agreement.

Reach Phil Kabler at philk@wvgazettemail.com, 304 348-1220, or follow @PhilKabler on Twitter.

- See more at: http://www.wvgazettemail.com/news-politics/20170401/house-passes-bill-eliminating-state-funding-for-greyhound-racing#sthash.uDUNmhb1.dpuf

 

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Gambling Legislation Advances In Florida; Senate, House May Seek Compromise

by Paulick Report Staff | 03.30.2017 | 5:08pm

Two disparate gambling bills advanced through the Florida legislature on Thursday, one dramatically expanding the number of facilities permitting slot machines and the other keeping things mostly status quo.

Senate Bill 8, passed by the full Senate in a 32-6 vote, would permit slot machines at existing pari-mutuel facilities (mostly greyhound racing tracks) in eight counties where local referenda were passed: Brevard (east of Orlando), Duval (Jacksonville), Gadsden (Gretna, in the Florida panhandle where barrel racing and later flag drop races were staged to obtain a pari-mutuel permit and poker permit), Hamilton (near the Georgia border where similarly farcical horse races were conducted), Lee (Fort Myers), Palm Beach (West Palm Beach), St. Lucie (Ft. Pierce) and Washington (west of Tallahassee).

Senate Bill 8 also would permit greyhound and some horse racing pari-mutuel permitholders to continue to operate their slots facilities without conducting live racing or jai-alai, a move known as decoupling. Those permitholders would contribute annually toward a pool of purse money and breeder awards for horse racing. It also would allow slots permitholders in Miami Dade and Broward counties (Gulfstream Park, for example) to add blackjack to their wagering menu.

Senate Bill 8 does not contain a clause, found in an earlier version of the bill, that would make it a felony to wager on pari-mutuel races outside of a licensed facility, via advance deposit wagering.

House Bill 7037 passed the Commerce Committee by a 19-11 vote and is headed to the House floor. It does not expand wagering or permit pari-mutuel permitholders to “decouple” their slots license from their pari-mutuel license. It guarantees a virtual gambling monopoly to the Seminole Tribe, which would pay $3 billion to the state, in areas north of Miami Dade and Broward counties.

If the House bill passes, leaders from the two chambers could meet in the state capitol in Tallahassee as early as next week to work out compromise language.

 

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MARCH 24, 2017 – Currently there are “Gaming Bills” in both the house and senate here in Florida. The Senate Bill includes Decoupling as well as slot machines for most tracks that have voter approval in their area. The House has no Slots or Decoupling. Neither of the bills have been voted on but the Senate seems optimistic that they can make a deal prior to the end of the session on May 5th.

In West Virginia House Bill 3105 and Senate Bill 437 both include defunding. (removal of state subsidies of around 14 Million) and both support decoupling. Both bills have made it through committee meetings but have yet to be voted on. It is generally felt that if these bills pass it would end greyhound racing in West Virginia were around 3,000 greyhounds are involved in racing. At least one of the bills includes one Million dollars for adoption HOWEVER most of the greyhounds racing in WV would not be retired but would displace greyhounds in Florida and other states. The West Virginia Session ends on April 8th.

Dennis Tyler
Greyhound Pet Adoption Central FL

 

•••

Senate starts moving on gambling overhaul

By Dara Kam, News Service of Florida

Posted: 6:25 PM, January 25, 2017 Updated: 6:25 PM, January 25, 2017

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - With little discussion and virtually no debate, a Senate panel unanimously signed off Wednesday on a sweeping gambling plan proposed by one of the chamber's most powerful members.

But while Sen. Bill Galvano's proposal is on a speedy Senate track, the House is expected to take a much more conservative approach to a redesign of the state's gambling footprint.

More News Headlines

Galvano's legislation would broadly expand the presence of slots in Florida, by allowing the machines at pari-mutuels in eight counties --- Brevard, Duval, Gadsden, Hamilton, Lee, Palm Beach, St. Lucie and Washington --- where voters have approved them. Galvano, who is slated to become Senate president after the 2018 elections, is also proposing another slot-machine license each in Miami-Dade and Broward counties.

The bill (SB 8) would also allow jai alai operators, greyhound tracks and all but thoroughbred horse track operators to do away with live racing or games while still keeping more lucrative gambling activities like cardrooms or slots, a process known as "decoupling."

The measure, if passed, would only go into effect if lawmakers also approve a new gambling agreement, called a "compact," with the Seminole Tribe of Florida, Galvano told the Senate Regulated Industries Committee during an explanation of the 112-page bill Wednesday.

Lawmakers are again considering broad gambling legislation as House and Senate leaders work with Gov. Rick Scott's administration to hash out a new compact with the tribe.

The negotiations come after a portion of a 20-year compact expired in 2015. That portion gave the tribe the exclusive rights to operate "banked" card games such as blackjack.

Despite the expiration, a federal judge ruled in November that the Seminoles could continue to offer blackjack because the state had breached the agreement by permitting controversial "designated player" games at pari-mutuel cardrooms. U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle ruled that the designated player games violate a state law prohibiting games in which players bet against the house.

Galvano's soup-to-nuts proposal, which would legalize the designated player games, would also resolve litigation awaiting a decision from the Florida Supreme Court. The lawsuit, filed by Gretna Racing, is focused on whether gambling operators can add slots if county voters give the go-ahead, even without the express permission of the Legislature.

Galvano told the Senate committee Wednesday that his plan would inject certainty "in a dubious marketplace" by "creating funding opportunities," spurring economic development and resolving litigation.

The Senate plan would also establish regulations for the fantasy sports industry, requiring an initial $500,000 licensure fee and an annual $100,000 renewal fee for major operators like FanDuel and DraftKings. Questions have been raised in other states about whether fantasy sports are a form of illegal gambling.

"This bill, if it were to pass unchanged and I cannot in good faith tell you that unless we're playing fantasy amusement, but the gross impact on our annual budget would be $450 million, the net impact would be $375 (million)," Galvano told the committee. "It's a significant dollar amount, but again it is a comprehensive approach to move us forward on the journey with the tribe … and (gaming) interests."

The bill addresses "gaming and all of its components comprehensively" and "has been designed purposely so that the interest of each is ultimately dependent on the interests of others," he said.

"We have a very comprehensive bill here. I believe it is a solid vehicle to move forward. But this type of legislation is very unique. Unlike most legislation where you have a back and forth with your counterparts and you're seeking the approval of your governor, we have injected into this a sovereign (Seminole) nation," he said, referring to the gambling deal as a game of "three-dimensional chess."

Industry insiders have referred to Galvano's bill as a "Christmas tree" for pari-mutuel operators, but he rejected the notion that his plan is an industry wish list.

"These are not issues that we just came up with," Galvano, R-Bradenton, told reporters after the meeting. "These are all issues that were pursued and discussed in committees. They are a reality for the tribe and the House to contend with if we are going to get resolution."

Unlike the Senate bill, the House could focus on shrinking the state's gambling operations.

"The House bill will be a conservative approach to gaming that will put contraction front and center. But the details are still being worked out," House Commerce Committee Chairman Jose Felix Diaz, R-Miami, said in a telephone interview Wednesday.

Galvano --- who, as a House member, was instrumental in crafting the 20-year compact with the Seminoles --- and Diaz are the Legislature's chief negotiators with the tribe and the governor's office after lawmakers failed to give the requisite approval last year to a deal struck by Scott.

"The compact that was executed last year is no longer the starting place for either chamber," Diaz said.

Instead, both the House and Senate are crafting bills that lay out parameters for "how the compact should look," he explained.

"We're now spending time fleshing out the details of the two proposals to see if we can get to a realistic, passable bill," Diaz said.

Galvano said the tribe is aware of his bill, and he expects to receive input from the Seminoles --- who have paid the state more than $120 million even after the banked card games portion of the compact expired --- soon.

"We all want to get something done," he said.

•••

JANUARY 13, 2017 - The Florida Senate just introduced Senate Bill 8 that includes Decoupling for greyhound tracks and some horse tracks.  It also recommends approval of the Indian compact and outlines how injury reporting is to take place.

The Florida House will also come up with their version of a Florida Gaming Bill but it is expected to be different.  We will let everyone know when this happens and how it reads.  With this early introduction of legislation it is our hope that we will know the outcome earlier and will be able to give more notice.

Dennis Tyler
Greyhound Pet Adoption Central FL

•••

JANUARY 10, 2017 - The Florida Legislative session starts March 7th and ends on May 5th (Cinco De Mayo). Legislators are expecting to see a comprehensive “Gaming Bill” covering all aspects of gambling in Florida.  We will advise when any legislation is introduced and follow it through committee and floor votes.

The West Virginia Legislative session starts on January 11th and ends on April 8th.   West Virginia legislators are expected to remove state subsidies to the racing industry and we are not sure of other legislation that may include greyhound racing in that state.

Currently there are approximately 8,000 greyhounds racing in Florida; 3,000 greyhounds racing in West Virginia; 2,000+ in Alabama; and over 2,000 in Arkansas and Texas.  It is estimated that there are another 10,000 on farms in different stages of training to become future racers.

Dennis Tyler
Greyhound Pet Adoption Central FL

•••

Greyhound Racing Legislation Florida

Orlando Sentinel | July 29

Voters may decide on Greyhound protections in Seminole

As a step toward phasing out Greyhound racing in Florida, a coalition of ... and that such a county ordinance would be pre-empted by Florida law.

Greyhound Racing Legislation Arizona

Arizona Daily Star | June 26, 2016

After 72 years, live dog racing ends at Tucson Greyhound Park

After 72 years, live dog racing ends at Tucson Greyhound Park ... The track's owners, Joseph Zappala and Philip Robert Consolo Jr. of Florida, are still ..

Greyhound Racing Legislation West Virginia

Wheeling Intelligencer | June 24, 2016

W.Va. Racing 'Gradually Bleeding Out'

CHARLES TOWN — Thoroughbred and greyhound racetracks in West Virginia are slated to take a hit in purse funds under the new state budget

West Virginia MetroNews | June 17, 2016

Governor restores Greyhound purse fund money

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has come to the rescue of the state's dog racing industry by restoring a cut of approximately $2.5 ...

 

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