News reports indicate that search warrants have been executed regarding a possible race fixing ring at Hazel Park, Northville Downs and Sports Creek Raceway. The reports indicate up to 30 owners, drivers, trainers, and gamblers may have been involved in the alleged scheme. The racetracks have been cooperating in this year long investigation.
There is a possibility this scandal may hit the Ontario tracks as press reports indicate members of the Ontario Racing Commission have been involved in the investigation. Since many Michigan racehorses often cross the border to race at the Ontario B tracks and vice versa, it is only natural that the ORC has become involved.
We are not here to prejudge innocence or guilt of any persons; certainly not without knowing who or what the charges may or may not be. Suffice it to say, this has the potential of being a nightmare; killing the industry in Michigan; hurting the reputation of racing all over as well as influencing the public debate regarding VLTs and the future of racing elsewhere.
We trust should suspects be named, they will be suspended immediately pending the outcome of any legal proceedings. Unfortunately, in an industry which depends on the participation of horseplayers, waiting until any criminal proceedings conclude is not an option. Should any licensee be convicted of race fixing, nothing short of a lifetime ban is acceptable.
UPDATE: It appears the Michigan race fixing scandal may be spilling over the border into Indiana, Ohio, and Ontairo as there are suspicions of the gambling ring being invovled in these states/provinces. Anyone thinking this scandal will remain a local story is sadly mistaken. It also turns out this case came to the attention of regulators thanks to individuals withing the industry reporting the alleged scheme to regulators. It is imperative this part of the story gets told.
And now we wait......