Florida Pari-Mutuel Regulations Hotly Debated

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the ongoing use of pari-mutuel facilities as a means for ever-expanding gambling venues. For the past two years, Florida legislators and gambling industry officials, have been working to craft regulations. One group believes the rules go too far, when the other sees the regulations as not going far enough. There are a few types of races that revolve around gambling and Genting Group has been at the center of the controversy. New rules are being brought fourth and there will be real gambling implications. Ocala online reports:

Four years ago, state gambling regulators granted Gretna Racing a pari-mutuel permit for quarter-horse barrel racing — the first, and possibly only, in the nation — but a court later ruled that the permit was issued in error. State regulators later entered an agreement with the facility authorizing “flag drop” races, in which two horses race against each other in a straight line.

Gretna Racing is also in the midst of a legal battle over slot machines. A three-judge panel of the 1st District Court of Appeal recently ruled that gambling regulators erre in denying the facility a slots license. The state is asking that the full court rehear the case in what is called an “en banc” hearing.

Florida horse owners and breeders not affiliated with the association Blanton represents strongly oppose barrel racing and “flag drop” races as pari-mutuel activities, in part because nearly all other races require more horses to compete.

“We want to make sure that expanded gambling doesn’t happen through loopholes. Otherwise, we just want integrity in the business. We don’t need made-up sports. What do we get to next? Hermit crab sprints? We can bet odd-even that the sun will be covered by clouds one day and that’s pari-mutuel? It’s just a real slippery slope. But we’re encouraged by some of the comments we heard from the department today,” Powell said.

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