MGCB ISSUES DECISION TO YESTERDAY’S ATTENDEES, rec’d at 4:19pm July 15, 2011:
Based upon our discussion yesterday, there exist some outstanding matters that need resolution prior to any live racing at Mt. Pleasant Meadows.
Foremost, as discussed, the outstanding breakage needs to be paid and all aspects of the race meet application that require modification need to be amended, including details of capital improvements as discussed in our meeting.
The legality of the use of the purse pool to fund track operations was brought up last year by the HBPA and the MGCB was asked to look into the matter. In doing so, the advice from the Attorney General’s office was that purse pool funds could not be used for track operations, thus the purse pool order was issued earlier this year. Additionally, audits of the purse pool were conducted to further identify its usage.
Based upon review and internal discussion of the information from yesterday’s meeting and contracts recently provided between the associations and the track, the contracts denote that the purse pool remains to be used to fund operations through the use of assessments. Although this may have been prior practice by the tracks, it is by no way an “industry standard” and based upon advise from the Attorney General’s office we cannot find it to be a viable use of the purse pool funds. The track must find alternative methods to fund operations outside of deriving money from the purse pool, even if indirectly through a horsemen’s account. The MGCB is not opposed to the use of fees prior to a race, such as a starter fee, which are not derived from the purse pool.
Until the aforementioned information is addressed and we are provided contracts which adhere to the racing act and purse pool order, live racing cannot commerce at Mt. Pleasant Meadows.”
Erik Pedersen, Deputy Director
Division of Horse Racing, Audit & Gaming Technology
With a week to go before Mount Pleasant’s scheduled opening day, and just days before the races draw, this is not promising news. One can only hope the situation is promptly rectified and racing in Michigan can finally get off the ground as planned.
UPDATE: The Michigan HBPA has put out a response to the Gaming Control Board’s ruling…
MT PLEASANT MEADOWS: Efforts are currently underway to address and comply with ALL request made in Erik Pedersen’s letter.
The MI-HBPA, GLQHA and MPM are amending contracts to meet requirements to permit entries to be taken Tues. and continue for plans for opening day Saturday July 23, 2011. A meeting is scheduled for Sat. and the MGCB will be available as the process continues.
Information will be updated ASAP.