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FHBPA, Florida Horsemen Watching Today’s Senate Gaming Committee Discussion Closely

By G. Herb Sheheane, FHBPA Lobbyist
September 23, 2013
Statewide, racehorse owners, trainers and breeders—watched closely today, September 23, 2013, as the Florida Senate Gaming Committee held its first interim meeting of the 2013-2014 Legislative Session in Tallahassee.
“Horsemen were pleased to hear today that the Senate has acknowledged the substantial contribution of Florida’s horse racing industry,” said Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (FHBPA) Executive Director Kent Stirling of today’s report.  “Given the upcoming pari-mutuel rule hearings next month, we are especially interested in the regulatory ‘best practices’ recommended by the Spectrum Gaming Study.”
The FHBPA comprises nearly 6,000 independent Thoroughbred horse owners and trainers whose professional interests and businesses in Florida’s horse racing industry are at stake.
At this afternoon’s meeting, Senators discussed the format and schedule for a series of four upcoming (4) public workshops scheduled around the state to review a study conducted by Spectrum Gaming Inc. on Florida’s gaming industry and its economic effects.  Committee Chairman Garrett Richter indicated at today’s meeting that another meeting would take place in December 2013 if the allotted schedule does not provide legislators with ample time to review the Spectrum study.
In his presentation, Senate Gaming Committee Director John Guthrie explained today that “Part 2”—the final report of the Spectrum study—will actually consist of two parts, one of which analyzes quantifiable outcomes of various suggested Florida gaming market scenarios.
The Senate Gaming Committee’s first public workshop on the Spectrum Study takes place on October 23 in Coconut Creek at Broward College North Campus from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.  That event is preceded on October 16—also in Broward County—by the first of a series of public regulatory hearings on proposed pari-mutuel rules.
How the proposed new Florida pari-mutuel regulations might dovetail with the results of Spectrum’s highly anticipated study is uncertain, but Florida’s horsemen agree that recent developments leave them feeling hopeful.