For Immediate Release: May 29, 2003
President Pro Tempore
Senate OKs Legislation to Save Horse Racing Industry
CITY) Legislation that could infuse millions of dollars into the state’s
ailing horse racing industry and millions more into the state budget
passed the Oklahoma State Senate Thursday afternoon by a 25-19 vote.
Senate Bill 553 now moves to the House of Representatives where it could
be considered Friday, the last day of the First Session of the 49th
SB 553 would allow a limited “electronic instant ticket”
and “electronic amusement” games at Remington Park in Oklahoma
City, Fair Meadows in Tulsa, Blue Ribbon Downs in Sallisaw and Will
Rogers Downs in Claremore. A portion of the proceeds from the machines
at the racetracks will be earmarked for much needed increases in horse
“What the State Senate did today was vote to keep our state’s
valuable horse racing industry breathing. Without additional money for
purses, the industry in Oklahoma will dry up and blow away and so will
many of its 57,000 jobs,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Cal
The Lexington Democrat, who is the author of the measure, said the bill
will also provide revenue for the state from a tax on the proceeds from
the machines at the horse racing facilities. Additional new revenue
will be generated from Native American tribal casinos through a gaming
compact with the tribes.
Also, Native American tribes that compact with the state in the manner
prescribed in a model compact included in the bill will be allowed to
use the same “electronic instant ticket” and “electronic
amusement” gaming machines allowed at the horse racing tracks.
The bill will also give the state, through the compact, regulatory authority
over the tribal casinos.
Hobson said opponents are wrong when they claim that it will allow unlimited
expansion of gaming in Oklahoma beyond the “electronic instant
ticket” and “electronic amusement games” specifically
mentioned in the bill.
“I do not believe that Senate Bill 553 will authorize a significant
expansion of gaming in our state. It simply adds four new locations
to the more than 60 electronic gaming facilities already located here.
“It is my belief that it will not open the door to Las Vegas style
gambling or games like craps, roulette and keno.”
Hobson said the measure can be a “win, win, win proposition.”
“It will save our horse industry, give the state regulatory authority
over tribal casinos and provide much needed revenue, most of which is
earmarked for education.”
For more information, contact:
- (405) 521-5605