Casino and Race Course (Calder) received a slot machine license from the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering (Division) on July 2, 2013 without first fulfilling a statutory requisite, the Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (FHBPA) advised the Miami-Dade-based racetrack officials in a letter sent yesterday, July 16, 2013. Calder has been operating its slot machines in that manner since then.
To view a copy of the July 2, 2013 slot license issued to Calder, click here: Calder Slot License Issued July 2, 2013
Under Florida law, the Division must have on file a binding agreement between any Thoroughbred pari-mutuel permitholder and the FHBPA that governs the payment of purses on live Thoroughbred races at the permitholder’s pari-mutuel facility before awarding or renewing a license to operate slot machines.
Calder’s slot license was renewed, even though no such agreement presently exists.
“In its attempt to demonstrate legal compliance, Calder submitted something altogether different to the Division, which, in turn, awarded the license anyway,” FHBPA Executive Director Kent Stirling explained. “It’s pretty clear that everyone involved knew that Calder never signed an actual purse contract with the FHBPA, nor did anyone check with us to ask whether they did.”
§551.104(10)(a), Fla. Stats. provides in pertinent part:
“No slot machine license or renewal thereof shall be issued to an applicant holding a permit under chapter 550 to conduct pari-mutuel wagering meets of thoroughbred racing unless the applicant has on file with the division a binding written agreement between the applicant and the Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, Inc., governing the payment of purses on live thoroughbred races conducted at the licensee’s pari-mutuel facility.”
The FHBPA Board of Directors voted on Monday, July 15 to withdraw its consent to Calder’s simulcasting effective July 25, 2013, and to take any appropriate additional action should Calder not finalize a statutory purse agreement by that time.
“Purse negotiations have been ongoing with Calder officials since last year,” FHBPA President Phil Combest. “After months of good faith efforts by the FHBPA, the fact that Calder would receive and operate its slot license is a complete slap in the face to our horsemen and their many businesses that depend upon quality live horse racing to keep people employed.”