Under the pressure of demonstration and with the demand of rapid movement of legalization, the Governor of Minnesota, Mark Dayton, signed a bill on Friday, May 6, 2012 to expand the poker rooms at the two thoroughbred horse tracks in the state.
Last Saturday, the bill, House File 2795 was passed at the Minnesota Senate through by a 44-18 vote, whereas the House pushed it through by a 97-34 margin. According to the Gov. Dayton, the bill seems to have settled protests and a continuing battle between two gaming entities in the state and won something for their efforts. The passed legalization bill would now enable the two racetracks, Canterbury Park and Running Aces Harness Park to turn themselves into full-fledged “racinos” where there would be slot and table games along with their poker offerings.
This legalization will facilitate the two racetracks to expand their poker rooms from 50 to 80 tables and unlimited tables for poker tournaments. Apart from this, the two racetracks will also be able to offer higher betting limits from $60 to $100 and some other table games, such as blackjack, where the players play against the house. On the other hand, the Indian casinos can now offer simulcast betting on horse racing and other off-track betting (OTB) operations.
While discussing about poker rooms phases under new laws, Randy Sampson, the president and Chief Executive Officer of Canterbury Park stated, “Initially, we will increase the number of tables hosting live play from 50 to 60, the card room’s current capacity, to accommodate our customers during peak periods.” Later, Sampson added saying in a statement following the bill’s passage. “Additional expansion, higher betting limits and expanded poker tournaments will be implemented based on market demand.”
It is believed that the modified poker regulation is a direct effort by the state to raise revenues for the Canterbury Park and Running Aces Harness Park to preserve their place in the horse racing industry.
Sampson further added, “While this legislation will not solve the revenue problems the industry faces, it is an important step in the right direction for Minnesota horse racing. We are grateful the Legislature and Governor recognized the current, fragile state of horse breeding and horse racing in Minnesota and provided new tools we can use to strengthen our business and enhance purses.”
Having the same opinion as Sampson regarding the new poker regulations, Jeff Hilger, the president of the Equine Development Coalition of Minnesota said, “Racing purses are the fuel of our horse industry.” And later Hilger said after the passage of the new regulations, “This legislation will help stop the decline of the breeding industry in Minnesota and send a clear sign to Minnesota owners and trainers that the state is serious about protecting the future of the equine industry.”
Eventually, with the passage of the new poker regulations in Minnesota, the state has once again shown the power of the game to raise revenues and has valued the individual state’s multitude of issues.
Source by Andy Lukes