Gulfstream Park to Host 2012 Claiming Crown on Opening Day


Gulfstream Park to Host 2012 Claiming Crown on Opening Day
March 13, 2012 — Lexington, KY — Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Florida will host the 14th running of the Claiming Crown on the opening day of its 2012-2013 meet, Saturday, December 1, 2012. The 2012 event will see a significant increase in purses to $850,000 for seven races with the individual race purses ranging from $100,000 to $200,000. In addition to the six Claiming Crown races conducted at the 2011 event, the Tiara for fillies and mares on the turf will return this year.

“We’re ecstatic to play host to the 14th running of the Claiming Crown on opening day December 1,” said Gulfstream Park President and General Manager Timothy Ritvo. “Horses competing in the claiming ranks are many of the toughest in the world. They’re game and they build loyal followings within the Thoroughbred community, whether with fans, owners or trainers.

“This is an important event to our chairman, Mr. Frank Stronach, and we’re very excited about kicking off our 2012-2013 season with the Claiming Crown. The management and staff at Gulfstream look forward working with the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association and the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association.”

“The Florida HBPA Board of Directors thought that the purses for the Claiming Crown had become quite outdated and stale over its 13-year history, and thus, chose to significantly increase them. The Board felt that if the Claiming Crown were to come to Gulfstream Park, it needed to be the best Claiming Crown ever,” said Florida HBPA Executive Director Kent Stirling. “We are proud to join with Gulfstream Park, the National HBPA and TOBA to revitalize this great day for our claiming horses. Claiming horses are the backbone of our industry and deserve to be celebrated on their day with higher purses, and what we expect to be record setting live handle and simulcasting numbers.”

“We are excited and honored that Gulfstream Park has agreed to host the 2012 Claiming Crown,” said TOBA president Dan Metzger, who also serves as chairman of Claiming Crown Limited. “The enthusiasm and purse commitment from both Gulfstream Park and the Florida HBPA has been extraordinary and we believe that this year’s event promises to be our best yet.”

“The National HBPA is extremely pleased that this year the Claiming Crown will be hosted by Gulfstream Park and the Florida HBPA. Their commitment to purses and a quality day of racing certainly elevates the Claiming Crown to a new level and will position it among the premier racing days of the year anywhere in the United States,” said Joe Santanna, President and Chairman of the National HBPA, one of the co-partners of the Claiming Crown. “The Gulfstream Park Claiming Crown races provide horsewomen and horsemen across the country with an exceptional opportunity.”

Patterned after the Breeders’ Cup, Claiming Crown was designed to reward Thoroughbred racing’s “blue-collar” horses and will offer races at varying distances on both dirt and turf.

This will mark the first time Gulfstream Park has hosted the event, which debuted at Canterbury Park in Shakopee, Minnesota in 1999. Canterbury has hosted 10 of the first 13 renewals of the event. The Claiming Crown was held at Philadelphia Park (now Parx Racing) in Bensalem, Pennsylvania in 2002, at Ellis Park in Henderson, Kentucky in 2007 and Fair Grounds Race Course and Slots in New Orleans, Louisiana in 2011.

Further details on the event’s race lineup, purse structure, nomination and entry deadline schedule and eligibility dates to be released soon.

The Claiming Crown is a partnership between the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association and the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association. The Claiming Crown was created to be the claiming horse owner’s Breeders’ Cup; a special racing event, created for the “average owner,” and featuring some of the most competitive horses in the country. The Claiming Crown has been held annually since 1999.

TOBA (www.toba.org), based in Lexington, Kentucky, was formed in 1961 and is a national trade organization of Thoroughbred owners and breeders. TOBA’s mission is to “improve the economics, integrity and pleasure of the sport on behalf of Thoroughbred owners and breeders.” Projects managed by TOBA include the American Graded Stakes Committee, The Racing Game, Sales Integrity Program and Claiming Crown. TOBA is the owner of The Blood-Horse Inc., and is represented on the Board of Directors of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association as a founding member.

The National HBPA (www.nationalhbpa.com), based in Lexington, Kentucky, is the largest racing horsemen’s representative association in North America, with 30 affiliate organizations and over 30,000 member horsemen. Big Dee’s Tack & Vet Supplies, Equineline.com, Finish Line Horse Products, Inc. and Horseman Labor Solutions are proud corporate partners of the National HBPA.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Bill would let dog track, fronton move


Bill would let dog track, fronton move
South Florida Business Journal by Kevin Gale, Editor in Chief
Date: Wednesday, February 22, 2012, 3:02pm EST
Related: Travel

Related News

Tea Party Miami uses Costa Concordia disaster to support destination gambling
Jobs a major focus of Senate committee workshop on gambling
Arison responds to Tea Party Miami critique on gambling
Tea Party Miami takes on Arison in gambling debate
Central Floridians split on gambling resorts

Kevin Gale
Editor in Chief – South Florida Business Journal
Email | LinkedIn | Twitter | Facebook
An amendment to a Florida House bill would allow movement of a greyhound racing permit or a dog racing permit to another county without a vote by residents.
The amendments to HB 887 by state Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, has drawn a strong response from Tea Party Miami, which previously supported destination resort legislation.
“Now a cabal of politicians in the House, high-paid casino lobbyists and greedy casino developers want to pull a fast one to put a mega-slot casino in South Florida – without a vote of the people,” an email said.
A message seeking comment was left with the voice mail system at Gaetz’s Tallahassee office.
The amendments are tacked on to a bill that deals with business regulation.
They would appear to help a jai alai or dog track owner that doesn’t have card rooms move to a county that allows them – something that is common in South Florida.
Here is the combined text of the two amendments, which were filed Tuesday:
“Any holder of a valid outstanding permit for greyhound dog racing in a county in which there is only one dog racing permit issued that operated a live meet in 2011 and that does not permit the operation of a card room, as well as any holder of a valid outstanding permit for jai alai in a county in which only one jai alai permit is issued that operated a live jai alai event in 2011 and that does not permit the operation of a card room, is authorized, without the necessity of an additional county referendum required under s. 550.0651, to move the location for which the permit has been issued to a location in another county which has authorized the operation of the same class of permit with card rooms, provided that such relocation is approved under the zoning regulations of the county or municipality in which the permit is to be located, consistent with the comprehensive plan, and that such move is approved by the department after it is determined at a proceeding pursuant to chapter 120 in the county affected that the move is necessary to ensure the revenue-producing capability of the permittee without materially deteriorating the revenue-producing capability of any other pari-mutuel permittee of the same class of permit within 20 miles. The distance shall be measured on a straight line from the nearest property line of one racing plant or jai alai fronton to the nearest property line of the other.”

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Casinos at the crossroads: 7 key moments marked historic debate


Casinos at the crossroads: 7 key moments marked historic debate

.

The past year’s high-profile push to bring resort casinos to South Florida was marked by a string of notable moments. The debate is over for this legislative session but is sure to continue.

Buy Photo

A visitor tries out the slot at Casino Miami Jai-Alai which opened its doors to its $87 million casino with 1,047 slots, 4 domino tables, and 24 poker tables on Wednesday, January 25, 2012 in Miami, Florida. The 40,000 square foot expansion created 100 construction jobs and 300 permanent jobs according to casino officials.
CARL JUSTE / MIAMI HERALD STAFF

BY DOUG HANKS AND ELAINE WALKER

dhanks@MiamiHerald.com

Colin Au paced the polished marble floors of Miami’s fanciest hotel, waiting for the go-ahead to jumpstart a lavish development plan already on a fast track.

Au and his fellow Genting executives had stunned the city five months earlier on a May morning by announcing the Malaysian casino company’s purchase of The Miami Herald headquarters and plans to build a massive “destination resort” there. Genting promised a resort so spectacular and grand that it would lure vacationers from around the world, with or without a change in Florida’s gambling laws to allow a casino.

That was the plan, and now that plan was about to change dramatically. Minutes before a ballroom reception at the Four Seasons Miami, Genting Chairman K.T. Lim arrived with the news he had just signed a $161 million deal to gain control of the Omni complex adjoining The Miami Herald land. Genting promised to open a casino there within six months of Florida changing its laws.

“We are taking a calculated risk,” Au said just before unveiling his plan to a crowd of local business leaders and elected officials. “We are responding to the concerns and trying to create jobs as fast as possible. The Omni is what’s called a decorator-ready solution.”

For Genting it was a tactical move to entice the Florida Legislature with the promise of immediate jobs. But it also marked a dramatic shift in Genting’s message. Suddenly the focus wasn’t about a gleaming new resort that would help spur economic development. Now it was all about how fast Genting could open a casino.

“It just showed they were a casino-driven company,’’ said Stuart Blumberg, retired head of a leading Miami-Dade lodging trade group and a Genting critic. “You don’t walk into a community, make a land grab… and then say, ‘Within a year, you’re going to have casino gaming.’ ’’

The Omni acquisition wasn’t enough to overcome a conservative Florida Legislature already inclined to vote against new casinos. On Feb 3, one of Genting’s legislative patrons withdrew the bill designed to bring the company’s Resorts World Miami to the downtown waterfront.

The scuttling of the pro-Genting bill wasn’t a surprise to many Tallahassee watchers, who from the start gave Genting and its Las Vegas counterparts slim odds for expanding gambling in the Sunshine State. It also serves as a bookend — at least for this year — for one of the most-spirited debates over the future of South Florida’s tourism industry in recent memory.

A string of notable moments marked the debate. Among them:

Friday morning, May 27, 2011; conference room at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Miami

Miami’s business community awoke to the biggest real estate story of the year — one that unfolded in secret within the largest media company in town. Southeast Asia’s largest casino company had paid $236 million for The Miami Herald site.

Although the stunning announcement sparked a major fight to come, Genting’s rollout broadcast a different message: harmony with the neighbors. Rather than inviting the cameras to the resort’s future home at the waterfront Herald site, Genting took over a conference room across the street at the Arsht Center. Literally sitting at the table with company executives: Arsht chairman Mike Eidson.

The setting didn’t come without effort. Before the deal was announced, Genting executives told Arsht leaders they would support the cash-strapped theater with steady ticket purchases, new parking garages and a promise not to compete with the tax-funded theater’s offerings.

“Having the press conference there showed they had the Arsht Center’s support,’’ said Willy Gort, the chairman of the Miami City Commission. “It showed they were going to work together.”

Wednesday afternoon, Sept. 14; Four Seasons Miami

In unveiling Genting’s vision for Miami, Au wanted a plan bold enough to underscore the stakes.

If Florida endorsed casino resorts, Miami would get a development large enough to compete for the coveted Asian tourism market and add tens of thousands of jobs to a community where unemployment tops 10 percent.

The Arquitectonica-designed plans reinforced Genting’s promise that the project would be a “game changer,” a self-contained resort luxurious enough to woo wealthy travelers from around the world.

The 5,200 hotel rooms would almost double all of downtown Miami’s current inventory. The 50 restaurants meant about twice the number of dining spots at the major casinos on the Vegas strip. Arquitectonica’s project manager later described a casino with 800,000 square feet and 8,500 slot machines — dwarfing the 2,500 machines at the largest casino on the Vegas Strip, and big enough to give Miami the world’s largest casino.

“I think everybody was a little overwhelmed,’’ said Jack Lowell, a Miami commercial broker who became a leading Genting advocate in business circles. “People started concentrating on the project and its impact, as opposed to the larger issue of “Is destination resorts the right thing for South Florida.”

Tuesday morning, Oct. 11; Beacon Council headquarters, Miami

Frank Nero, Miami-Dade’s top economic cheerleader, summoned two Miami Herald journalists to his 24th floor office for an interview. Armed with a stack of anti-casino papers and books, Nero warned Miami could be rushing into an economic debacle.

“Casinos are vacuum cleaners,’’ said Nero, president of the Beacon Council, the county’s tax-funded economic development group.

His comments richocheted through Miami-Dade’s political and business leadership. Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez and heavyweights in the private sector “wanted to ride me out of town on a rail,” Nero recalled.

Nero’s comments amounted to the first pushback against Genting from a Miami-Dade leader and foreshadowed a larger fight to come over the wisdom of more casino gambling.

Auto magnate Norman Braman, who owns dealerships near The Miami Herald site; developer Armando Codina and Miami Heat owner Micky Arison all eventually opposed the Genting plan to some degree. Even Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado, who handed Genting the key to the city a few weeks after the Herald deal was announced, backed off, asking for more time to consider the Resorts World plan.

“I believe your proposed project may be one of the best things that ever happened to our community — or the worst,’’ Regalado wrote Lim in November.

Wednesday at noon, Nov. 9; Joe’s Stone Crab, Miami Beach

The most famous casino magnate next to Donald Trump sat down to a plate of crab claws and a pitch. Across the table from Steve Wynn: Miami Beach Mayor Matti Herrera Bower. She led a city already on the record opposing gambling, but Wynn wanted to build on municipal land if Florida changed its casino law.

“I think Miami Beach is the greatest site for a destination resort in the United States,’’ Wynn told reporters who had staked out Joe’s after being tipped off to the mogul’s presence.

As the only man besides Julius Caesar with his name atop a casino on the Vegas Strip, Wynn’s South Beach sojourn captured just how quickly South Florida was becoming a top target for the gambling industry.

Wednesday, Nov. 16; State Capitol, Tallahassee

“Bullshit.”

Au said it twice in a spirited presentation that marked Genting’s official debut before Florida lawmakers, emphatically dismissing anti-casino arguments with the off-color remark.

Many were skeptical of Genting’s promises of 100,000 construction and operations jobs, and about $6 billion in extra spending by the three casino resorts allowed under the bill. At the same hearing, an executive with Las Vegas Sands, another global casino company pushing for a Miami site, called the numbers unrealistic.

But Au’s use of profanity before senators became the takeaway moment from the hearing, one that captured a feeling that Genting was misreading the politics needed to get a controversial bill passed.

State Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff, R-Fort Lauderdale, who sponsored the casino bill, said she later told Genting executives they “have messed up the message’’ by making such an aggresive pitch.. She urged the company to “tone it down.”

Sands’ Vice President Andy Abboud said he thinks Genting hurt the entire industry: “They went too far.”

Monday morning, Dec. 12; Alvah Chapman Conference Center, Miami Dade College, Miami

Six months into Florida’s casino debate, there was little new left to say on either side. So the Beacon Council’s day-long forum on gambling unfolded as expected, with a tour through familiar arguments and criticisms.

Then came the surprise. When a fellow panelist criticized Genting for wanting the world’s largest casino in Miami, top Genting executive Christian Goode objected. “It’s not even close to being the largest,’’ Goode told the audience. “That’s simply false.”

It was the first time Genting tried to correct the world’s-largest claim, which was first raised eight weeks earlier in a press release by a top anti-gambling group, No Casinos. Goode’s denial emphasized what had become clear to even many of Genting’s original supporters: plans for Resorts World Miami were too big.

“It just didn’t fit in anybody’s vision about what this area should be like,’’ Eidson said. “It was pretty obvious that this gigantic size was going to require enormous changes in the roads. We had to worry about how to protect the Arsht Center and what it was going to do to the neighborhood around us.’’

Thursday andFriday, Feb. 2 and 3, 2012; State Capitol, Tallahassee

It was the night before the crucial vote on the gambling legislation in the House committee, and supporters were one vote away from a milestone.

Handicapping the outcome of the Friday vote flipped between a one-vote margin of passage and a one-vote margin of failure. Success would mean casino legislation had moved further along in the state Legislature than in previous years when Sands and other U.S. companies were quietly pushing for South Florida casinos.

“An issue like this is kind of a Rubik’s cube,” said Nick Iarossi, a lobbyist for Las Vegas Sands Corp. “Anytime you have that many special interests pushing in so many different directions it makes it difficult. Members would rather not deal with it. The “no’’ vote in a political year is the safe vote.”

In the end, sponsor state Rep. Erik Fresen, D-Miami, pulled the bill from consideration as the House’s conservative politics and the power of the anti-gambling coalition — led by the Florida Chamber pf Commerce and Walt Disney World — proved too strong to overcome. Also not helping the cause was timing of an election and redistricting year.

Bogdanoff had already succumbed to pressure from the parimutuel industry and given them complete parity, in order to get the bill passed through one senate committee.

Despite the negative and abrupt end, this year’s gambling debate garnered a higher-profile than in recent years. Genting upped the ante by putting its money on the table, investing $500 million in Miami real estate.

“Genting took something that was conceptual and made it more tangible,” said Justin Sayfie, a lobbyist representing the Westin Diplomat Hotel on the issue. “That investment certainly heightened awareness.”

There’s no doubt Genting will be back. The company has explored bypassing the Legislature and conducting a statewide petition drive to put a referendum on the ballot in 2014 giving Miami-Dade and Broward voters the power to approve resort casinos.

Jessica Hoppe, general counsel for Resorts World Miami, said the company believes year’s efforts “began an important statewide dialogue.”

“We attribute this progress to our significant commitment to Miami and our transparent approach to educating the public about our plans and galvanizing public support,” Hoppe said in a statement.

But what about everyone else?

“The fact that one committee couldn’t muster the votes doesn’t mean that the market has changed,” said Alan Feldman, senior vice president of public affairs for MGM Resorts International. “Florida is still an amazing market.”

Las Vegas Sands isn’t as sure.

“My client is re-evaluating whether Florida is real and whether the political appeal is here for destination resorts,” Iarossi said. “Nobody wants to be on a fool’s mission.”

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/02/11/v-fullstory/2650674/casinos-at-the-crossroads-7-key.html#storylink=cpy

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Calder Race Course supervisor, 2 contractors charged in alleged kickback scheme.


Calder is double crossed!
Calder Race Course supervisor, 2 contractors charged in alleged kickback scheme.
How could this happen? From the company who gave us Steve Sexton, who almost killed racing in south Floriduh, John Marshall, who’s threats to trainers who raced their horses at Gulfstream Park during the winter dates dispute, an armored security guard who was killed on the property, and then we find out the alleged killers worked at Calder, now we have this jaw dropping story. Here is the Miami Herald link.

http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/02/02/2621421/calder-race-course-supervisor.html

According to federal charges, three men and unnamed co-conspirators made millions by collaborating on a “kickback scheme” involving false billing for maintenance services at the Calder race track and grounds.
jweaver@MiamiHerald.com
A former track supervisor of Calder Race Course and two former contractors were charged Thursday with stealing about $4.5 million from the Miami Gardens horse-racing track in an alleged kickback scheme that spanned a decade.

The three defendants charged with fraud in federal court were track superintendant Steven Cross, also known as Ira Sapirman; Israel Campos, owner of chemical and janitorial supply businesses; and Mark Cantrell, owner of janitorial supply businesses.

If convicted, each faces up to 20 years in prison. Cross and Cantrell were also charged with tax evasion.

Cross, 53, of Hollywood, Campos, 64, of Miami, and Cantrell, 45, of Boca Raton, are scheduled for their first appearances in Fort Lauderdale federal court on Friday or next week.

A Calder spokeswoman declined to comment because of the ongoing criminal case.

According to charges, the three men and unnamed co-conspirators enriched themselves “by illegally obtaining money from Calder through a kickback scheme” for purported maintenance services on the 220-acre race track and grounds.

The scheme allegedly involved the contractors’ submission of “fraudulent invoices and delivery tickets reflecting chemicals that had been delivered” to the race track that were generally not supplied at all. The chemicals were herbicides and fungicides.

From 1998 to 2008, Campos’ businesses, Delta Supply and Maintenance Distributors, received payments from Calder totaling $2 million, which he “split” with Cross, according to prosecutor Jeffrey Kaplan. Campos allegedly gave the cash kickbacks to Cross at Calder.

During that same period, Cantrell’s businesses, Marquee Enterprises and A-JEM Industries, received $1.5 million, which he also “split” with Cross, according to the prosecutor. Cantrell allegedly gave the cash payoffs to Cross at Calder or in Broward County.

Cantrell also made payments on Cross’ leased Chevrolet Corvette, according to the charges.

In addition, Cross told three other unnamed plumbing, welding and painting contractors that the track superintendant “needed to get paid from the proceeds of the work they performed,” the charges said.

Between 2005 and March 2008, the three contractors paid about $1 million in “kickbacks” to Cross through a company he set up called All Source, the charges said.

Also, for more a year, the unidentified plumbing contractor paid Cross’ credit card bills totaling $120,000.

The investigation, led by the Internal Revenue Service, also led to tax-evasion charges against Cross and Cantrell alleging hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid taxes for some of the years of the alleged kickback scheme.

Calder, which includes thoroughbred racing and slot machines and poker games, is owned by Churchill Downs in Kentucky.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Quote from United Florida Horsemen on today’s Gadsden County slot referendum (1/31):


Quote from United Florida Horsemen on today’s Gadsden County slot referendum (1/31): The people of Gadsden County and the City of Gretna are being cheated out of exponentially jobs and long-term economic development they could have had if Gretna Racing LLC were holding legitimate Quarter Horse racing instead
by Florida Horsemen: FHBPA
Quote from United Florida Horsemen on today’s Gadsden County slot referendum (1/31):

“Notwithstanding the fact that the Gadsden County Slot referendum was held based the unlawful premise of “pari-mutuel barrel racing,” the travesty is that, regardless, of tonight’s outcome, the people of Gadsden County and the City of Gretna are being cheated out of exponentially jobs and long-term economic development they could have had if Gretna Racing LLC were holding legitimate Quarter Horse racing instead. For those who doubt that fact, the truth is now in the numbers: Real Quarter Horse racing at Hialeah Park has out-earned and outperformed Gretna’s “pari-mutuel barrel racing” by over 99 percent—all with no cardrooms, slots or bailout from the taxpayers of Florida. As for job creation? Hialeah has over 800 employees who received their pari-mutuel license at the facility. Gretna has only 38. Proof that real jobs created by real horse racing are something slot machines can never replace.”

For more information, contact:
Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association: Kent Stirling (305) 628-2989 or khs0813@bellsouth.net
Florida Quarter Horse Racing Association & Florida Quarter Horse Breeders’ and Owners’ Association: Dr. Steve Fisch, DVM (850) 510-9650 or sfischDVM@avsequinehospital.com

http://www.UnitedFloridaHorsemen.org
http://www.FloridaHorsemen.com
Florida Horsemen: FHBPA | February 1, 2012 at 12:19 am | Tags: Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, Florida Quarter Horse Racing Association & Florida Quarter Horse Breeders’ and Owners’ Association on Gadsden Gretna Slot Referendum, Gadsden County Slot referendum was held based the unlawful premise of “pari-mutuel barrel racing, Gretna cardroom and poker, Gretna Casino, Gretna Gadsden Slot Referendum, Gretna Horse Track, Gretna pari-mutuel barrel racing, Gretna Slots, North Florida slot referendum, people of Gadsden County and the City of Gretna are being cheated out of exponentially jobs and long-term economic development they could have had if Gretna Racing LLC were holding legitimate Quarter , Quote from United Florida Horsemen on today’s Gadsden County slot referendum, real jobs created by real horse racing are something slot machines can never replace, Real Quarter Horse racing at Hialeah Park has out-earned and outperformed Gretna’s “pari-mutuel barrel racing” by over 99 percent—all with no cardrooms, slots or bailout from the taxpayers of Florida | Categories: Florida Destination Casinos, Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering, Florida Gambling, Florida Thoroughbred Racing, Gretna Casino Based on Illegal Barrel Racing |

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Bondi, state regulators say no to slots at Gretna and raise doubts about Palm Beach


Bondi, state regulators say no to slots at Gretna and raise doubts about Palm Beach

by Dara Kam | January 12th, 2012
State regulators won’t give a Panhandle horsetrack permission to have slot machines without legislative approval or changes to the state constitution based on an opinion issued by Attorney General Pam Bondi on Thursday.

Her non-binding opinion also puts in doubt a local bill Palm Beach County and the Palm Beach County Kennel Club are seeking to get slots approved at the dog track. A referendum on the slots will go before county voters in November.

Bondi issued the opinion in response to a question from state gambling regulators regarding Creek Entertainment Gretna racetrack in Gadsden County. Voters there and in Washington County will decide on Jan. 31 whether they want to allow their local pari-mutuels to offer slots, something the Gretna owners are banking on.

But Bondi said the referenda would only be valid if they are first authorized by the Legislature or in the state Constitution, and Department of Business and Professional Regulation officials said they would comply with her opinion.

Lawyers for PBKC and the Gretna track rejected Bondi’s opinion, accusing her of being biased against the slot machines and promising that the courts will ultimately decide on the issue.

“This is not the first time, nor will it be the last, that an Attorney General has opined, for political issues, on a gambling issue outside of their authority,” attorney Marc Dunbar, one of the owners of the Gretna track, said in a statement. “Fortunately the Supreme Court has ruled on many occasions that these advisory opinions have no binding affect and more times than not are eventually rejected by Florida courts. I look forward to meeting her in court where law, not politics, will ultimately decide the issue.”

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Puppet John Marshall DID show up at the HBPA winter convention. Talk about chutzpah!


Puppet John Marshall DID show up at the HBPA winter convention. Talk about chutzpah!

And by the way. To that jerk in Ocala with an obscene name. Everyone is still waiting for your report about the December handle at Gulfstream Park in 2011, as opposed to Calder’s December handle in 2010. Let me help you in case Puppet John didn’t get a chance to give you the figures, here they are.

Gulfstream’s handle was up OVER 200%.!!! I didn’t see any articles about this in your rag blog of misleading statements and lies.

Gulfstream began its 2011-12 race meet Dec. 3, about a month prior to its traditional opening day. To resolve a dispute over southeast Florida racing dates, Calder Casino & Race Course relinquished its traditional December dates.

Gulfstream Park had an all-sources handle of $8.7 million for its first three Saturdays in December 2011.

Calder had daily average all-sources handle of $3.2 million for its three Saturdays in December 2010.
So Mr. Dick Man, we are all waiting for the report, and also tell us what eating crow taste’s like. Yummy!
John Marshall and Bernie Dick man.”I promise to donate 10,000 dollars to the HBPA winter convention” Opps!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

John Marshall con man at CDI


First I would like to say that I hear from insiders that John Marshall is upset with me because of the things I write about him, and CDI. I would like to say really? Like I give a crap what Puppet John and CDI think of me. I think more of used car salesmen that these two.
Both CDI and Puppet John Marshall cannot be counted on to keep their word about anything. Liars and con men are two words that come to mind. There are others but I want to keep this something everyone can read with blushing.

Thanks Gene for all the REAL inside information about the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (HBPA) Winter Convention in Hollywood Beach, Florida and Puppet John Marshalls backstabbing.

Calder Race Course General Manager John Marshall informed the Florida HBPA, which is hosting the event, that the racetrack was significantly scaling back its prior sponsorship commitment of $10,000.

The Puppet John Marshall said that CDI could only afford $3,000 dollars. On two occasions Puppet John said they would spend the 10,000 dollars. The guys a liar. Plain and simple. He has zero credibility.

I personally would like to thank XpressBet for stepping in and sponsoring HBPA winter convention that faced budgetary shortfalls because of CDI and Puppet John Marshall, two who can never be counted on to keep their words.

Do you think Puppet John and any representatives from CDI will have the balls to show their faces at this event? I can’t wait to see them walk through the door. They will be as welcomed as President Obama would be at a Republican debate.

The National HBPA represents over 35,000 Thoroughbred racehorse owners and trainers throughout the United States. The Florida HBPA has over 5,000 members.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Pari-mutuels gain parity in gambling bill


GAMBLING
Pari-mutuels gain parity in gambling bill

A key Senate committee voted to allow pari-mutuels the same games and tax rates as casinos during the gambling bill’s first major test before the Florida Legislature.

Senate Bill 710, the controversial gaming bill, passed the Senate Regulated Industries Committee on Monday 7-3. It has more committees to stop in before the bill will hit the Senate floor, though.
BY MARY ELLEN KLAS
HERALD/TIMES TALLAHASSEE BUREAU
TALLAHASSEE — With a standing-room-only crowd of lobbyists watching Monday, a Florida Senate committee voted to bring destination resort casinos to Florida but only after allowing competing pari-mutuels to operate as full casinos with no additional investment or voter approval.

The Senate Regulated Industries Committee bowed to the pressures of the state’s existing gambling industry and attached an amendment to the controversial bill before passing it, 7-3. It was a dubious victory for the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff, R-Fort Lauderdale.

The change, if it remains part of the measure, could serve as a poison pill to doom the bill, especially in the gambling-averse House, where the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Erik Fresen, R-Miami, said it would succeed only if it results in a net reduction of gaming in Florida.

The committee modified the bill by opening the door to allowing the same full-scale casino games at any pari-mutuel facility in Miami-Dade and Broward counties, and allow pari-mutuels to pay the same 10 percent tax rate that would be paid by the resort casinos. Pari-mutuels outside Miami-Dade and Broward would also be allowed to get slot machines if county voters approve.

The change forced Bogdanoff to admit that the measure would indeed expand gambling in the state.

“I’ve given up saying it’s not an expansion because I’ve lost that battle,” she said. “Call it what you will.”

The pari-mutuel amendment was added to Bogdanoff’s 170-page bill by Sen. Charlie Dean, R-Inverness, and Sen. Maria Sachs, D-Boca Raton. Bogdanoff had hoped to require the pari-mutuels to invest at least $125 million to win a casino permit, but the amendment took out that provision.

Bogdanoff said the change would subject the casinos at pari-mutuels to lighter regulations than those required of the destination resorts. The bill would create a new state agency to regulate all gambling, and create a state Gaming Control Commission to authorize three resort casino permits and impose strict new regulation for casino operators.

Despite the change, Dean voted against the bill. “I support the industry and the license-holders in this state,” he said. “I think we’re reaching way too far and are in too big a hurry.”

Bogdanoff countered that the amended bill would at least “stop the proliferation” of the kind of predatory gambling that now exists in Florida because it would put a halt to new pari-mutuel permits and regulate so-called Internet cafes and maquinitas — online slot rooms that have proliferated in strip shopping centers through a loophole in state law.

“This is the first time we will take a strategic direction on gaming,” she said.

Speaking against the bill was the Florida Sheriffs Association, John Sowinski of No Casinos — the Disney-backed effort opposing the bill — the Florida Attractions Association, the Southwest Florida-based Casino Watch, and the Florida Baptist Convention.

“This is not our Florida,” said Bill Bunkley, of the Florida Baptist Convention, urging senators to reject it because it would be “a legacy bill for each one of you and this legislature.”

The Florida Chamber of Commerce began running television ads opposing the bills on Monday, and created a website called BadBetForFlorida.com.

But also on Monday, a group of business groups sent a joint letter to legislators urging them to support the bill because of its potential to create jobs.

Speaking on behalf of the bill were lobbyists for the Associated Builders and Contractors and the National Federation of Independent Business.

Bogdanoff dismissed criticism that more gambling in Florida would ruin the state’s family-friendly image, but suggested that absent a better direction, the state would be consumed by predatory gaming.

“People do not go to South Beach to see Mickey Mouse,” she said. “We have the strip club capital of the world in Tampa. We have not ruined our family-friendly image.”

The bill will next go to the Senate Appropriations Committee, chaired by Sen. J.D. Alexander, R-Lake Wales, who opposes the bill.

Senate President Mike Haridopolos has said that he wants the proposal to come to a full vote on the Senate floor, but after Monday’s vote some legislators are urging him to reconsider that promise.

“I believe there’s better than a 50-50 chance this bill won’t pass,” said Sen. John Thrasher, R-Jacksonville, chairman of the Senate Rules Committee. He called it “the largest expansion of gaming in the United States” and voted against the bill.

Thrasher, a former lobbyist for Jacksonville Greyhound Racing, said he disagrees with Bogdanoff’s premise that the Legislature has let the pari-mutuel industry call the shots with the state. He said there is a need to close the loopholes that have allowed for the proliferation of online slot machine parlors and the creation of a barrel-racing permit to allow for a Gretna race track owner to get approval for slot machines.

Dan Adkins of Hartner and Tyner, owner of the Mardi Gras Casino and greyhound track in Hallandale Beach, said that despite the bill’s changes to accommodate the pari-mutuel industry, the measure continues to face “an uphill battle.” He predicted the Senate would let the measure stall until the House acts on it.

House sponsor Erik Fresen said he expects the bill to get a hearing in committee there next week.

Among the changes approved:

• Pari-mutuels in Miami-Dade and Broward County would be allowed to operate full casino games and get a 10 percent tax rate.

• Pari-mutuels would no longer be required to invest $125 million to convert their horse and dog track permits to full casino games, and they would be allowed to obtain their casino licenses using a different set of regulations.

• Pari-mutuels outside Miami-Dade and Broward would be allowed to get slot machines after July 7, 2015, or after the resort casinos start operating.

• Any county that puts a casino resort referendum on the ballot must also put on the ballot a question relating to expanding the casino to any pari-mutuels located in the same county.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Calder Race Course General Manager John Marshall


Just nine days before the January 12 beginning of the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (HBPA) Winter Convention in Hollywood Beach, Florida, Calder Race Course General Manager John Marshall informed the Florida HBPA, which is hosting the event, that the racetrack was significantly scaling back its prior sponsorship commitment of $10,000.

As a result, the Convention faces a budgetary shortfall. Any individual or organization that might be able to help bridge that monetary gap with an emergency sponsorship is requested to please contact Wanda at the Florida HBPA (Telephone: (305) 625-4591 or FHBPA@bellsouth.net).

The National HBPA represents over 35,000 Thoroughbred racehorse owners and trainers throughout theUnited States. The Florida HBPA has over 5,000 members.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment