HomePublicationsNewsletter ArchiveVolume 25Issue 1HORSEMEN’S GROUP CRITICIZES VETO OF ADW BILL AND QUESTIONS WHETHER NEW TRACK WILL OPEN

The Michigan Horsemen Benevolent & Protective Association (“HBPA”) wasted no time in reacting to Governor Snyder’s veto of HB 4611, which would have allowed tracks to offer advanced deposit wagering in Michigan. In a press release issued on December 28th immediately after the veto, HBPA President George Kutlenios stated the following:

Today, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder vetoed HB 4611 as passed by the Michigan Senate last week by a vote of 35 to 3. Introduced by Rep. Dan Lauwers almost two years ago, this bill would have supported the horse racing industry in Michigan by modernizing the Horse Racing Act to support Advanced Deposit Wagering and support Michigan’s second largest industry, Agriculture.

Over the past several years, the Michigan HBPA has worked with the administration and legislators on ways to promote and support the equine industry in Michigan. This bill was specific to the state’s horse racing industry and would have helped modernize an industry that has been a part of Michigan’s history since 1938.

Just this month, a Kentucky corporation purchased the vacant Sports Creek Race Track in Genesee County, outside of Flint. Renovations had already begun on the property and the Michigan Gaming Control Board had tentatively approved the application submitted by the track for thoroughbred racing in 2019. It is unclear if the proposed track will proceed without the passage of the ADW bill.

Michigan has a rich horse racing history and there are currently many horsemen and women across this state that own and care for thousands of horses. The industry has been unable to modernize due to constraints within the Horse Racing Act. Unfortunately, the law authorizing horse racing has been unable to keep pace with the advancement of technology. HB 4611 would have allowed for Advanced Deposit Wagering (ADW), that is currently allowed in nearly every state in the nation. ADW mirrors the current form of placing a wager on a horse race but simply would allow the wager to take place from a mobile device such as a phone.

Emphasis added. As previously reported in our newsletter link, AmRace & Sports LLC  has acquired the Sports Creek property and announced plans to bring thoroughbred racing back to the state of Michigan there.   The HBPA press release stating that it is “unclear if the proposed track will proceed” suggests that the failure to get the legislation enacted could become a significant hurdle.

A story in MLive—The Flint Journal reported yesterday that the Michigan Gaming Control Board (“MGCB”) is on top of the issue, and “will ask the new owner of Sports Creek Raceway to attend a compliance conference this month in order to hear ‘an update on their progress and their plans.’”

In an interview with this newsletter, Nelson Clemmens, Director of AmRace & Sports LLC told us that his group has been very dedicated to the project and has been working around the clock to do their best to provide the MGCB staff all the information they need.  “We are looking forward to our upcoming meeting with the MGCB. We have put considerable efforts, investment capital and professional resources into this initiative to make it a success, and appreciate the diligence and guidance that we have received from the MGCB”, he stated.

Hazel Park Raceway, which was the only thoroughbred track in Michigan, shut down in April of 2018.

 

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