Ignoring Florida Legislature, Pending Litigation, Gretna Pari-Mutuel Barrel Racing Seeks Regulatory Loophole Protection

Documents–Gretna Pari-Mutuel Barrel Racing Seeks Regulatory Loophole Protection
Seeking to protect its cardroom and pending slot operations by solidifying the very loophole that enabled “pari-mutuel barrel racing” in the first place, Gretna Racing LLC owners David Romanik and Marc Dunbar have filed a petition to amend Rule 61D-2.001, entitled “General Definitions.”  In response, the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering has scheduled a five-hour March 13, 2012 workshop on the issue just days after the 2012 Florida Legislature officially concludes.

The audacious move comes amid Florida legislators’ pending efforts to correct the State’s legal definition of “horse racing,” the absence of which has led to a relative avalanche of pari-mutuel permitholders attempting to leverage the “Gretna Model” to similarly exploit existing the State’s live horse racing requirements to secure cardrooms and, ultimately, slot machines. 

Late in 2011, absence of a clear legal definition of “horse racing” was interpreted by the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering to allow for “pari-mutuel barrel racing.”  By successfully exploiting this loophole, Gretna Racing was deemed to meet Florida’s live racing requirements, thereby enabling the opening of its 365-day per year cardroom and poker facility.  At that point having filed minimal “racing dates” that also fulfilled Florida’s two-year live racing requirement for slot machine licensing, Gretna Racing’s Romanik and Dunbar quickly convinced Gadsden County officials to hold their desired slot referendum, despite the cloud of massive and costly litigation mounted by Florida horsemen strongly indicating that “pari-mutuel barrel racing” was, in fact, based on an illegal license award by state regulators.

Now, despite the pending legislative and litigation firestorm, and contrary to the related stern disapproval of Florida Governor Rick Scott and Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, pari-mutuel regulators will once again entertain Gretna Racing by considering Romanik and Dunbar’s proposed Rule amendment petition.  Essentially, amending Florida’s regulatory definition of “Contest” in the proposed manner would protect and perpetuate not only Gretna Racing, but its six copycat license applicants in the regulatory pipeline, thus firmly entrenching the expansion of gambling at the cost of decimated Florida horse racing industry jobs.

“The State of Florida licensed Gretna ‘pari-mutuel barrel racing’ without any enabling legislation, regulatory hearings or public input,” recalled Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association Executive Director Kent Stirling.  ”The last time I checked, you can’t just ignore the law, then go back and fix it when someone points out in hindsight the fact that you broke it!”

Florida Quarter Horse Racing Association President Steve Fisch noted, “Once again, Florida regulators are usurping the role of the Legislature and paying short shrift to the resulting job loss and economic drain—both of which have been stunningly quantified in this very short December/January time period.  The fact remains:  Legitimate Florida Quarter Horse racing is out-earning ‘pari-mutuel barrel racing’ in dramatic proportions.  To say one is the same as the other—especially in this tight budget year—is simply cheating Florida taxpayers across the board.”

The petition and its related documents are attached.

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

  

The United Florida Horsemen are:

·         National and Florida Barrel Horse Association (24,000 members)

·         American Quarter Horse Association (350,000 members; 7,163 Florida)

·         Florida Quarter Horse Racing Association (439 members)

·         Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ & Owners’ Association (1,300 members)

·         National Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association (35,000 members)

·         Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (5,000 members)

·         Florida Standardbred Owners and Breeders Association (630 members)

·         U.S. Trotting Association (25,000 members)

 

www.UnitedFloridaHorsemen.org

www.FloridaHorsemen.com

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About unitedfloridahorsemen

The United Florida Horsemen, comprises the organizations listed below, and represents the interests of Florida's horsemen and horse racing industry to Regulators, the Florida Legislature, Public Policy Makers and the community at large. • National and Florida Barrel Horse Association (24,000 members) • American Quarter Horse Association (350,000 national members; 7,163 Florida members) • Florida Quarter Horse Racing Association (439 members) • U.S. Trotting Association (25,000 members) • Florida Standardbred Owners and Breeders Association (630 members) • Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association (1,300 members) • National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (35,000 members) • Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (5,000 members)
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