- To see United Florida Horsemen’s message to the Governor this week, click here.
In a strongly-worded news release issued this week, June 24, 2013, “No Casinos,” a prominent anti-gambling advocacy group, noted that the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering has essentially “thumbed its nose” at the judge who recently ruled that pari-mutuel wagering on phony horse racing cannot be sanctioned or conducted under current law.
To view the No Casinos news release, click here.
Just days after the court sternly ruled that “pari-mutuel barrel racing” and similarly contrived events run afoul of Florida law, the Division issued yet another such license to Gretna Racing, LLC, after its representatives—the very same attorneys who intervened in the administrative case attempting to defend the Division’s unlawful actions —had sent threatening letters to Florida regulators objecting to enforcement of the judge’s ruling. Within hours, Florida’s regulators caved.
“The Division is siding with those who want to cleverly skirt the laws – rather than enforcing the full letter and spirit of those laws,” said No Casinos President John Sowinski. “It is time for Secretary Lawson to step in and cancel these licenses before this leads to another un-checked proliferation of gambling like we saw for too long with Internet Cafés.”
Initially, it seemed as though the State would honor the judge’s scathing 85-page rebuke of Gretna’s activities by allowing only legitimate quarter horse racing. But now, the State appears committed to giving Gretna yet another free pass.
“What’s worse,” Sowinski continued, “it’s clear that operators at Gretna don’t care if anybody even watches the races. They just want them to take place in order to try to meet the technical requirements of hosting more lucrative forms of gambling, including simulcast, cardrooms, and they hope one day, slot machines.
Normally, the market introduction of any new gambling product would be enabled with the passage of legislation, followed by subsequent regulatory hearings in which public input would be provided and considered. With “pari-mutuel barrel racing” and its offspring, such as the bootleg racing Gretna conducted this past weekend with the State’s full blessing, none of that process has occurred.
“Florida’s $2.2 billion dollar horse racing industry creates 104,000 documented annual Florida jobs,” explained representatives from the Florida Quarter Horse Racing Association, which prevailed in the case. “Governor Scott has committed to getting Floridians back to work by promoting Florida business the cornerstone of his administration. Now, we need him to hold true to that vision by putting a stop to this outrageous sidestep of Florida law that doing just the opposite by putting our Florida horsemen and breeders out of work.”
Read more about this issue at www.FloridaHorsemen.com