Casino ballot petitions fail to collect signatures

The Detroit Free Press reports the two casino expansion proposals targeting this fall’s election have both failed in the petition stage.

Had the “Racing To Save Michigan” and “Michigan Is Yours” proposals both obtained the 380,196 signatures required to appear on the ballot, Michigan voters would have had the option to add up to a combined 15 new casinos to the state’s 23 already existing operations, with one more under construction. The deadline for signatures passed on July 5.

The “Racing To Save Michigan” plan, drawn up by Hazel Park Harness Raceway CEO Dan Adkins, suggested the addition of up to eight casinos in locations across the state. Five would have been located at the state’s pari-mutuel racetracks: Hazel Park, Pinnacle Race Course in New Boston, Mount Pleasant Meadows, Northville Downs and Sports Creek Raceway in Swartz Creek. The additional three licenses would have been auctioned off by the state government. This proposal was met with skepticism by many in Michigan’s horse racing industry due to its lack of guaranteed provisions for the state’s racing programs.

The “Michigan Is Yours” proposal called for seven new casinos in Benton Harbor, Detroit, Flint, Lansing, Muskegon, Romulus and the Detroit Metropolitan Airport. Had it passed, the proposal would have also legalized sports betting at the state’s casinos. The “Michigan Is Yours” campaign was co-chaired by Benton Harbor mayor Wilce Cook.

For a detailed breakdown of how the money generated by each proposal would have been distributed to the State of Michigan and other sources, click here.

Both proposals faced opposition from the group Protect MI Vote, which includes state congressmen and women, values-based groups, casino-owning Native American tribes and interests representing the three non-tribal casinos in Detroit.



Filed under Politics

8 responses to “Casino ballot petitions fail to collect signatures

  1. ragman

    Could someone please post a link to the wording of Michgan’s 2004 prop 1.

  2. Neither the HBPA & MHHA or any of it’s members supported the Hazel Park petition. ” Racing to save Michigan ” as it didn’t contain one single provision within it’s language concerning Live Racing, Purse Revenues, Simulcasting, or Contracts between both the HBPA or MHHA.

    This petition if placed on the ballot and passed would of been the Death to Live Racing in the State of Mi. That is why it literally died it’s death. There was no RACING to save anything but the track Owners of Hartmen & Tyner. Live Racing wasn’t the future with this petition. Only gaining a Casino in which no Live Racing once passed had to take place.

    And the other Groups petition headed by Billy Sims didn’t address Horse Racing at all.

    I said Race Tracks need help, but it wasn’t in the form of Dan Adkins petition. Reality of it was, because of the way this petition went forward without any backing from either Horsemens group. It was dead before it’s beginning. Which is a good thing.

    If something gets signatures, it has to be literally a Petition with all these Provisions protecting the Horsemen. Otherwise it’s not about saving Live Racing.

    Proposal 04-01 would not terminate the expansion of gambling in the state, but would require voter approval of proposed expansions. Any legislation that authorizes any form of gambling – such as authorization of new casinos or the so-called racinos – would require voter approval on a statewide ballot before it could become effective. Likewise, any new games introduced by the Bureau of State Lottery that utilize table games or player operated mechanical or electrical devices would require voter approval in a statewide ballot before they could become effective. “Player operated mechanical or electronic devices,” although not defined by the proposal, can include slot-machines, video poker machines, video lottery terminals, and electronic pull-tab machines that have been introduced in some states and are being investigated in others to enhance sagging lottery revenues.

    The proposal also would require voter approval of city or township ballot questions before new gambling establishments can begin operations within a municipal unit. In Michigan, village residents remain township residents, so no provisions are necessary for voting on such a question in a village.

    The proposal would not affect any current or future Indian tribal casinos or the three casinos currently operating in the City of Detroit. Tribal casinos operate under compacts with the state government. The Detroit casinos operate under a petition-initiated law approved in a statewide vote.

    Reality of this is, New Boston as in Romulus if Pinnacle had been built there SUPPORTED RACINO’S. The STATEWIDE VOTE required on this was the part in question here. Why would somebody up north get to vote on something that takes place in New Boston?

    If only ” The proposal also would require voter approval of city or township ballot questions before new gambling establishments can begin operations within a municipal unit.” had existed. New Boston would of in fact already voted and this would of passed.

    Reality of it is, one hell of allot of people signed those petitions at the Casino’s in Detroit thinking it was for the purposes of FURTHERING gaming to the Race Tracks, not preventing it. They were mislead, and I know for a fact that the tables with people canvasing for the signatures did not have this petition’s language available.

    Since the Horsemen did not back or support either petition. To me this was a victory. You must understand that again there were no Provisions at all within it’s language to protect Live Racing with this petition. So I’m glad as many it went NOWHERE.

  3. Hey Joe we must of been writing at the same time. When I started my response yours hadn’t been posted yet. But as you said ask and you shall seek.

  4. ragman

    I fail to see the restriction to internet gambling in Prop 1. Somebody please point it out to me.

    From the Michigan Horse Racing Law of 1995, 431.317 sec 17 (7) Any act or transaction relative to pari-mutuel wagering on the results of live or simulcast hore races shall only occur or be permitted to occur within the enclosure of a licensed race meeting. A person shall not participate or be a party to any act or transaction relative to placing a wager or carrying a wager for placement outside a race meeting ground. A person shall provide messenger service for placing a bet for another person who is not a patron.(So it would appear that this part which was written in to combat the alleged threat of bookies posing as messengers now makes it illegal for me to take a $10 win bet on Yawm Estoora to Pinnacle for my wife.) HOWEVER, this subsection DOES NOT prevent simulcasting or intertrack or INTERSTATE COMMON POOL WAGERING(ADWs) inside or outside this state as permitted by this act or the rules promulgated under this act.

    So it would appear to me that as long as my ADW handles INTERSTATE COMMON POOL WAGERING it is ok to bet. What needs to be changed is this outdated law.

  5. mibredclaimer


    No worries. I’ve never seen the link you’ve posted before, so it was interesting to read.

    The thing with Prop 1 is that it was written just vaguely enough to include just about any expansion of gaming one could dream up.

    I consider the third provision something of a “voter-neutralizer”. A local community may be fine with a new casino, but the problem lies with the statewide vote. It has been proven that the average Michigan voter is at best indifferent/ill-informed to the cause of racing/gambling and at worst holds strong, but baseless, moral convictions against it. Dipping into the casino war chest will swing a lot of votes in the wrong direction. This is where racing’s opponents know the vote will fail, so they made sure to include it.


    I don’t know this for sure, but I think the first provision in Prop 1 is the hang-up. It was put in place to retroactively kill some racino legislation making its way through Lansing at the time, but it is argued that ADW is a “new” form of gambling because it wasn’t there before Jan. 1, 2004. Thus, it would require local and statewide voter approval. I could be wrong though.

    All I know is if there was a loophole to get it done, someone who stands to make a boatload of money from legalized ADW in Michigan should have found it by now.

  6. ragman

    Were those hand held bet takers that the girls use at Pinnacle there before 2004? An ADW would would bet into the same pool as those.

    I have often had the impression that the horsemen’s orginizations are afraid that ADWs would take away from the simulcast pools from which they get a cut. If this is the last year of thoroughbred racing in Michigan then they won’t have to worry anymore.

    Update the racing law.

  7. mibredclaimer

    True, but the hand-held bet takers are main-lined into the on-track betting system, just like any other window. They’re not third parties sending their bets from Oregon and getting a cut like an ADW company.

    I agree with you that the law needs to be updated. The language was written up well before the internet had come into prominence and needs to change with the times.

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