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Florida horsemen urge legislators to comprehend job-killing impact in light of 'decoupling' vote
Thursday, February 18, 2016 - from United Florida Horsemen

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Hallandale Beach, FL---In her column today (Feb. 18), entitled "Scant Hope for Horsemen in Senate Gambling Package," Sunshine State News Publisher Nancy Smith took note of significant and devastating changes in Florida's gambling and horse racing industry landscape that would take place if bills approved by the Florida Senate Regulated Industries Committee yesterday go the distance.

Not surprisingly, the House and Senate versions of the bills now both provide for the "partial" decoupling of Florida's lucrative horse racing industry, completely eliminating the highly successful Florida Quarter Horse Racing Association and Florida Standardbred harness racing programs, and create a casino-controlled "set-aside" payments for the few Thoroughbred races that may (or may not) be left.  A full decoupling amendment to be slipped in during the final moments of the Session is already rumored.

According to Teresa Palmer, a Jupiter Thoroughbred horsewoman and racing community leader who has attended every legislative committee meeting this year, lawmakers may not even realize that horsemen will likely never even see a dime of the alleged set-asides.

"That money will go straight to the racetracks. Once decoupled, the tracks won't have to run races -- certainly not as many as they've had before. No races, no purses," she said.

To the four legislators who voted against the bills, they sounded too much like gambling expansion, Smith explained. But by the time yesterday's meeting was over, the amended versions had become an "intricate and contentious revision of the Senate's original bill."

To read the entire article, click HERE.

 


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