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Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Some Help for Michigan Racing

Michigan, a state which has been cruel to horse racing for a number of years, has passed legislation to help horse racing.  These bills, SB504 and SB505, are scheduled for one final vote by the Senate before going to the Governor's desk for signature.

In particular do these bills help harness raicng?  Yes, they do all though not as much as they could have..  Whereas in the past, distribution of simulcast revenue has been a complicated formula, SB504 provides for simulcast revenue to remain with the track where the wager was made regardless of breed.  Hence, a wager made at Northville Downs on a race at Belmont will be credited to the purse account of Northville, the standardbred track.  Conversely, a wager made at Hazel Park on a Freehold race would credit the purse account of Hazel Park which now races thoroughbreds.  Hence, it would be in the interest of each track to offer as many signals regardless of breed.

In addition, SB504 dictates the roughly $1 million sitting in a purse account for harness horsemen at Hazel Park to be transferred to Northville Downs for the benefit of the horsemen there.  This will be a shot in the arm for harness horsemen and more importantly ensure the money will be used for harness horsemen as in the past Hazel Park has reportedly looked to see if they could appropriate the money for thoroughbred purses.

While regulatory authority remains under the control of the Michigan Gaming Control Board's racing commissioner, SB504 authorizes the establishment of a new seven member Horse Racing Advisory Commission which will be charged in making recommendations to the racing commissioner for the promulgation of rules and recommend legislative changes to the legislature; all to promote the longevity of horse racing in the state.

Bettors lose out on SB505 which criminalizes any ADW operating in the state of Michigan unless they conduct a parimutuel meet in state.  With this change to the criminal code, the ADWs will cease to do business in the Wolverine State, leaving punters without an option to wager on races from home.  This change was requested by the two Michigan tracks in an effort to recapture wagering lost to out of state operators.  An attempt via amendment to authorize ADW wagering through the two tracks was withdrawn in order to get SB504 approved.  Separate legislation to seek the approval of ADW wagering may be attempted in the future.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wonderful legislation.....now us handicappers and bettors will not be able to wager on races over the internet. Genius!!!

Pacingguy said...

I suspect there is some push back from the casinos who don't want the tracks to offer ADWs. They may be claiming it is a new form of wagering which is bull.