Casino Watch Focus has not only reported on the ongoing Florida Slot expansion case in before their Supreme court, but also on other creative attempts at allowing slots through flag drop racing. The issue at hand is that slot machines in Florida can be allowed at certain horse & dog racing tracks and various pari-mutual facilities, but fairly specific rules exist as to what constitutes proper racing. Four years ago permits were allowed for quarter-barrel racing, but the court ruled it wasn’t proper racing. The State then allowed for “flag drop” races where the two horses effectively race against each other. Its been a fairly contentious issue that has clear gambling expansion implications in Florida. Sunshine State News explains:
Gambling regulators and a tiny horse track in Hamilton County are at odds over whether a series of “flag drop” races two summers ago, which one former state official described as “a sham,” constituted legitimate horse races.
“Events that were called races at the time were held, however it’s the division’s position that the races were not races of speed, and therefore do not count as races,” Caitlin Mawn, assistant general counsel for the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, argued Monday. The department includes the Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering.
In about one-third of the races, “the horse didn’t run or just walked or the rider fell off,” Haskel testified. The flag drop “in no way, shape or form resembles a horse race,” Haskel said. “Nothing about Hamilton Downs is real in terms of race track standards,” he said.
The ruling from Administrative Law Judge E. Gary Early, who starting hearing testimony Monday in what is expected to be a two-day hearing, could play a role in whether the track is eligible in the future to add lucrative slot machines.
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