Stall Trot Aims to Assist Florida Standardbred Industry
Re: Pari-Mutuel Licensing, Slots Legislation and the Seminole Gambling Compact
Dear Florida Legislator:
Our families have been an active participants and investors in the standardbred horse industry for over 60 years. We have seen many changes including the evolution of gaming in Florida to the detriment of pari-mutuel wagering generally and specifically to the standardbred segment of the horse industry. We are calling on you to lead the way toward equitable and fair treatment of the standardbred horse industry in Florida that will preserve and grow employment and accelerate positive economic activity.
As you know the standardbred horse industry was effectively excluded from slots legislation enacted and implemented several years ago. Unlike thoroughbreds racing at Gulfstream Park (Hallandale) the standardbreds racing at Pompano Park (Pompano Beach), and its large Florida industry and economic multiplier effect, remain the only track in the U.S. operating without a horseman’s association contract that provides specific sharing of slot machine “net-win”, live and simulcast racing handle and other on-site gaming (e.g., poker) to provide purses and breeders funds for the Florida Breeders Stakes purses and breeders awards. In all other states horseman’s association contracts provide specific formulas for such purposes and thus the horse industry success and directly tied to track and racino success, a true partnership.
The standardbred industry has long been a major employer in Florida, an attraction for winter training by northern U.S. and Canadian stables and home to the breeding of excellent standardbreds at farms throughout the state. Further, many of these farms and training centers continue important green space in what have become certain densely populated areas. Examples are Sunshine Meadows Training Center (Delray Beach), South Florida Trotting Center (Lake Worth), Gilchrest Training Center (Bell) and others from south Florida through Ocala and to the north Florida border. The economic “multiplier” of the horse industry is enormous and must not be dismissed by our representatives in government and special non-pari mutuel gaming interests.
Florida’s horse industry needs uniform application of what have become standard, nationwide partnerships between racetrack and racino operators and the horseman’s associations that were instrumental in creating racino opportunities for the operators and support live racing that drives patronage of other gaming forms. I encourage you to do the analysis of legislation, rules and regulations in other states (PA, NY, DE, IN) and in other countries and adopt fair and equitable cross-breed treatment of Florida’s horse racing, training and breeding industry. Specifically, we support:
· Including language that requires that an applicant for initial or renewal of a slot machine license must have on file with the Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering, a binding written agreement between the applicant and the Association (FSBOA) governing the payment of purses and breeders and stallion and special racing awards on live harness racing conducted at the applicant’s pari-mutuel facility
· Providing for the ability for either party, (the permit holder or the association), to request binding arbitration if there is failure to reach an agreement required between the FSBOA and the harness horse race permit holder.
Thank you in advance for your consideration and for doing the right thing for the horse industry, its employees, investors and voters. As longstanding members of the United States Trotting Association, Florida Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association and other like organizations throughout the U.S. and Canada we are confident that we can count on you for your support.
Stall Trot, Inc.
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