On Thursday, September 24, 2015, legislation was introduced that, if passed, would amend the state’s horse racing laws to allow tracks to amend their racing licenses to permit additional simulcast wagering under certain circumstances. Senate Bill 504 (“SB 504”) was introduced by Sen. David B. Robertson (R – Genesee County) and co-sponsored by eight additional senators.

Under current law, horse tracks must hold a certain number of live racing events per year in order to be eligible to host simulcast events. SB 504 would allow tracks to continue simulcasting if the number of live events falls below the simulcast threshold under specific circumstances, such as inadequate horse supply, insufficient funding for purses, or if there is no certified horseman’s association operating in the state. If these scenarios occur, then the Executive Director of the Michigan Gaming Control Board (“MGCB”), which oversees the state’s horse racing industry, may amend the track’s license to permit continued simulcasting despite the lack of live events.

For simulcast wagering to be available to any track licensee under SB 504, there must be a total of at least 50 days of live thoroughbred racing held in the state in that year at all of the tracks. Exceptions to this rule could be made if they are approved by the state’s thoroughbred certified horsemen’s association.

The bill would also change the language of the state’s horse racing laws to recognize the jurisdiction of the Executive Director of the MGCB, who was delegated authority to regulate the industry through an executive order issued by Governor Snyder in 2009.

The bill has been referred to the Senate Agriculture Committee.


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