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Pennacchio On Florida Gaming Deal

Published: December 15, 2015 8:44 pm ET

Last Comment: December 17, 2015 1:04 pm ET | 1 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

“This is just a money grab by the casinos. That’s all it is.”

Joe Pennacchio, executive director and president of the Florida Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association, weighed in on the multi-billion-dollar agreement reached last week between Seminole Tribe and Florida Governor Rick Scott that could, in part, see pari-mutuel operators in the state offer expanded gaming without operating live horse and dog racing.

“Maybe if they traded horses for blackjack tables, they may make more money," Pennacchio was quoted as saying in a CBS Miami article. "But that’s not how they got their permit. They got their permit because they agreed to race horses. My point is if you don’t want to race horses, that’s fine. Just give the permit back.”

Pennacchio also said that it is "preposterous" to lump horse racing with dog racing, noting the thousands of jobs and billions of dollars the equine industry contributes to the state's economy.

The deal, which requires House and Senate approval, is expected to undergo some tweaks in order to be passed, according to one of the lead negotiators, House Regulatory Affairs Chairman Jose Felix Diaz.

“There’s some [legislators] that would be OK with decoupling all horses. There’s some that would be OK with decoupling most horses but not thoroughbreds. It does get a little stickier when it comes to horses,” said Diaz.

“I look at it as a matter of equity. It’s difficult to decouple everybody except for one and not listen to the one that is being excluded. So if everybody gets decoupled except for thoroughbreds, then there needs to be some considerations for those tracks that are not being decoupled but would like to be. I think it would be unjust to start picking winners and losers. So if that’s what ultimately happens because that’s where the votes are, then those losers would need to have something done that would alleviate some of their concerns if we want to pass an equitable deal.”

(With files from CBS Miami)

December 17, 2015 - 1:04 pmIt has been stated by many

It has been stated by many including me that many "Racinos" would gladly get rid of racing (with the exception of simulcasting) and have the slots, table games, and sports wagering. From a pure financial point of view they are doing the right thing for themselves. Once this is done in one jurisdiction any and all others will lobby for the same "rights"! The various governments will cave in to those demands for fear of legal suits!

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